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Shadow chancellor Gordon Brown will announce today that Labour is considering scrapping child benefit for 16 to 18 ...
Shadow chancellor Gordon Brown will announce today that Labour is considering scrapping child benefit for 16 to 18 year olds, a measure which he believes will save about £700m which could be used to fund education and training for young people on low incomes.

He will use his John Smith Memorial Lecture at Edinburgh University to outline how this would also encourage more to stay on at school and enter university or college.

Interviewed on the Today programme, Mr Brown revealed that he was reviewing all funding for over-16 year olds with shadow education secretary David Blunkett and shadow social security secretary Chris Smith.

He commented: 'The plan is that everybody after 16 would have the chance of education - full time, part time, in work or out of work. Everybody, every teenager should get a skill that is the only basis on which we can have a modern, successful economy.

'To do that we have to look at the provision of finance right across the board after the age of 16. That is grants, loans for students, fees, educational maintenance allowance and it is child benefit, which is paid to some children over 16 but not to many others.

'Universal child benefit for children before 16 rightly will remain. But I think it is right when you're looking at finance after 16 that we look at the whole gamut of provision, and that includes child benefit after 16 which is paid to half the teenagers but not to all of them'.

Mr Brown said the main cause of poverty was unemployment linked to lack of skills and education. This, in turn, led to huge social costs to be met by taxpayers.

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