MORE than 22,000 families in the Merseyside area have been warned their child benefit will be cut or axed altogether – in just a few weeks’ time.
Letters have been sent out to middle-class households where someone earns more than £50,000 a year, in one of the most controversial measures of the government’s “age of austerity”.
And they have been told the High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) will kick-in on January 7 – swiping up to £2,450-a-year from a couple with three children.
Now figures released to MPs have revealed that 9,220 families are affected in Merseyside, with a further 13,140 set to lose out in North Cheshire and West Lancashire.
The highest total in Merseyside is in the Sefton Central constituency of Labour’s Bill Esterson, where 1,240 households have been sent letters.
The next biggest group of high-earners is in Wirral West (1,050 families), followed by Wirral South (1,010), Southport (760), Garston and Halewood (750) and Liverpool Wavertree (650).
In stark contrast, only 130 households contain someone earning more than £50,000 in Liverpool Walton, the seat of Labour’s Steve Rotheram.
Meanwhile, in the leafy constituency of Tatton, the political powerbase of Chancellor George Osborne, no fewer than 2,470 families are affected – 19 times as many.
Any household where one parent earns over £60,000 will lose all of the benefit, currently worth £20.30 a week for the first child and £13.40 a week for each additional child.
Those earning between £50,000 and £60,000 – around 360,000 families, nationwide – will lose some of the money, after the government staged a partial climbdown.