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BROWN VOWS TO STOP PLAN TO AXE BENEFITS FROM PARENTS

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Chancellor Gordon Brown has vowed to ensure that plans to strip state benefits from parents of child criminals and ...
Chancellor Gordon Brown has vowed to ensure that plans to strip state benefits from parents of child criminals and truants are never introduced, reported The Independent on Sunday (p2).

Mr Brown, who has introduced ground-breaking policies to target benefits to the poorest families as a step towards ending child poverty, is fiercely hostile to the proposals that emerged from Downing Street before the local elections. Several cabinet ministers share his scepticism. At a meeting with Labour backbench MPs last week he made clear the measure did not have his support. He said there were already powers, seldom used, to deal with such problems but he would not be drawn further.

Education secretary Estelle Morris has become the latest cabinet minister privately to indicate she is not in favour of the move.

Lynne Jones, Labour MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, has tabled an early day motion in the commons, which already has the support of 47 MPs, stressing that the removal of benefits from the poorest families was counter-productive. It also voices support for 'child benefit to remain an unconditional universal benefit that encourages self-sufficiency'.

Tony Blair supporters said the policy had played well during the local elections campaign. People were in favour, they insisted, of tougher measures to deal with truancy and the related blight caused by youth crime.
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