Interesting number

Nearly 100,000 people on benefits have four or more children, with more than 900 claimants having at least eight.

Quite which way around this works though is a mystery. Is it that the existence of he benefits system encourages some to have more children? Or that if you have more children already then hte benefits system is such that being on benefits leads to a higher living standard than working?

Whichever way around it is (if, indeed, it\’s either, and these are not just the same family sizes as are found in the general population) the individuals here are acting entirely rationally.

But then as we all know, what is rational for individuals is not necessarily rational for the society as a whole (as the Keynesians keep trying to tell us with the paradox of thrift).

3 thoughts on “Interesting number”

  1. “Is it that the existence of he benefits system encourages some to have more children? Or that if you have more children already then hte benefits system is such that being on benefits leads to a higher living standard than working?”

    Unless you have figures for the size of families not on benefit, the answer to this question could easily be “It’s neither”.

    Tim adds: Indeed, a point I do make.

  2. There is a family in our village with 10 kids. He works as a casual general labourer and she stays at home with the kids. Three children have left home now, but at one point there were 9 children of school or pre-school age in that home.

    Assuming he was earning £20k (I very much doubt it was actually this much), according to http://www.moneyformums.co.uk/benefits/Benefitscalculator they would have been getting:

    £394 weekly in child tax credit
    £127.50 in child benefit

    And that’s before any possible housing benefit or council tax benefit, etc.

    On £18k, they’d have got:

    £409 in working family and child tax credit
    £127.50 in child benefit

    Plus, they’d have then been entitled to the full “munter card” (as it’s charmingly called around here) benefits including free school meals and prescriptions, etc.

  3. It’s just not possible to prove causation either way. Possible having 4 or more kids makes it very difficult to recover from financial setbacks, possibly having one kid early in life makes it difficult to earn much, possibly possibly ….
    Then again, if there are a great proportion of workshy scroungers, then maybe we’re doing society a goodness by supporting them on benefits. Their alternative lifestyle might well be a workshy life of crime.

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