Child benefit: Public not unaware, says Revenue and Customs

Baby being fed Child benefit amounts to £20.30 a week for an eldest or only child

Related Stories

The public are aware of imminent changes which could see more than a million people lose all or some of their child benefit, officials insist.

From next week, families with one parent earning more than £50,000 will no longer be eligible for the full sum in a shake-up first announced in 2010.

Officials have written to 784,000 of the estimated 1.1 million affected and say the message is "getting through".

But Labour says many people unaware of the move face a "nasty surprise".

Changes to child benefit payments for the better-off - introducing means-testing for the previously universal benefit - come into effect at midnight on 7 January.

Families where one parent earns between £50,000 and £60,000 will see their benefit - worth £20.30 a week for the first child and £13.40 for each child after that - progressively reduced based on income.

Eligible households where one individual earns more than £60,000 will lose them altogether, with the money to be recovered through the tax system.

'Changed circumstances'

The plan has proved controversial since it was first announced by Chancellor George Osborne more than two years ago as one of a number of austerity measures designed to reduce the deficit.

Those affected will need to fill out self-assessment tax forms for the current financial year - starting in April - to show they still qualify for the payments.

Unless people choose to opt out from receiving the benefit, they will continue to receive the money but will have to pay a charge at the end of the year.

Under the plan, the benefit will still be paid to mothers but will be reclaimed through tax payments made by the highest earner in the household whose salary exceeds £50,000.

Start Quote

There may be cases where people's circumstances have changed”

End Quote Revenue and Customs

The Daily Telegraph estimated that 316,000 of the 1.1 million families affected had yet to be formally informed about the changes and the implications.

Revenue and Customs acknowledged that some people were proving harder to track down as the authorities held incomplete information about them.

"There may be cases where people's circumstances have changed," a spokesman said.

"For example, their income may have increased or address may have changed and we will not yet have up-to-date information."

There had been an "extensive" advertising campaign to let people know about the shake-up, he said, as well as comprehensive coverage in the media.

The fact, he added, that there had been more than a million hits on the guidance section of the Revenue and Customs website and 100,000 people had used its online calculator to see if they would be affected showed that "the message is getting through".

'Unfair'

Child benefit facts

  • Child benefit is a tax-free payment that is aimed at helping parents cope with the cost of bringing up children
  • One parent can claim £20.30 a week for an eldest or only child and £13.40 a week for each of their other children
  • The payments apply to all children aged under 16 and in some cases until they are 20 years old
  • The system is administered by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) which pays out to nearly 7.9 million families, with 13.7 million children

Leading accountants have warned that the system of recovering the money has become too complex and Labour claims the changes have not been properly thought through.

"The could be a nasty surprise in store for thousands of parents if they are not aware of the changes and have to pay back thousands of pounds in child benefits at the end of the year," said shadow Treasury minister Catherine McKinnell.

Critics have warned the changes are "unfair" and anomalies have not be addressed.

As it stands, a family where two parents work and both earn £49,000 a year will keep their benefits. On the other hand, a family with a single earner on £51,000 - where the other parent has chosen to stay at home in a caring role - will lose part of theirs.

So far, 169,550 people have chosen to opt out from receiving the benefits entirely.

The Treasury defended the changes, saying it was "very difficult to justify" paying child benefit to the wealthiest 15% of families in the current economic climate.

"We must deal with Labour's deficit so that our children do not have to and to do so in a way that is fair," a spokesman said.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More UK Politics stories

RSS

Politics Live

  1.  
    12:37: Fee cuts - implementation

    Ed Miliband says the tuition fee cut will apply from September 2016 - and promises that even if a student started a course before then, the £6000 fee will apply for his or her remaining years.

     
  2.  
    12:36: 'Investment in young people'
    Ed Miliband

    Ed Miliband is now taking questions from students and the media. Asked about the rhetoric around charging money for higher education, he says: "There is a big disagreement here between those who believe there's a public interest in public investment in young people and our universities, and those who think it's just a matter of consumer choice for our young people". He says it's "absolute nonsense to say this is only about young people", as the whole country has an interest in young people unburdened with debt.

     
  3.  
    12:28: Fiscal 'responsibility'

    Ed Balls says the plan is "not only fair to students, fair to young people, and fair to taxpayers", but is "also an example of Labour assuming fiscal responsibility in the national interest". The proposal would strengthen the public finances, he says, as opposed to plans from opposing parties which would weaken the UK's bank balance.

     
  4.  
    12:25: Balls: Plans 'fully costed'
    Ed Balls

    Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls is now speaking, fleshing out more of the details. He says Labour's plans are "fully costed and fully funded", and that Labour are not making a promise they can't keep. The plans will reduce the UK's debt by £40bn by 2030, he claims.

     
  5.  
    12:24: Pension tax relief curbed

    Mr Miliband says he will pay for the cut in tuition fees by reducing the tax relief on pension contributions for the highest-earners. Those earning more than £150,000 a year will get the same relief as basic-rate taxpayers in future, rather than the 40% they enjoy at the moment.

     
  6.  
    12:22: Maintenance loan increase

    Ed Miliband says part of Labour's goal is "to make it easier for students of all backgrounds" to attend university - and to that end, students from families with an income of less than £42,000 will receive an extra £400 in their maintenance loan every year.

     
  7.  
    12:22: Tuition fee cut
    Labour audience on their feet

    Ed Miliband promises that a Labour government will cut tuition fees by a third, from £9000 to £6000 from September 2016. He says "we will not make the young pay the price of hard times" - and vows to "restore the promise of Britain".

     
  8.  
    12:17: 'A burden on our country'

    Ed Miliband says the current tuition fees system is leading to "more debt for students and more debt for the taxpayer", with an estimated £16bn more than predicted to be added to the public debt by 2020. He says that "if left unchanged, the whole system will have added £281bn of debt by 2030". The Labour leader says "the scourge of debt from tuition fees is not only holding back our young people, it is a burden on our country".

     
  9.  
    12:14: 'Broken promises'

    Ed Miliband says all young people have heard from the government in the last few years is "blame, denial, and broken promises". He says no-one in his generation - which is also Nick Clegg's and David Cameron's - had to start life after university with more than an average of £44,000 in debt.

     
  10.  
    12:10: Miliband's 'Promise for Britain'
    Ed Miliband

    Ed Miliband has taken to the stage in Leeds to talk about his party's policies on tuition fees going into the general election. He was introduced by the recently-elected president of Leicester University Students Union, who says this government has betrayed her generation.

     
  11.  
    12:05: More from Carwyn Jones

    The first minister adds: "The move towards a funding floor is an important step forward and we have been pushing for this for some time. But we cannot be confident that funding for Wales has been put on a fair and sustainable footing until the detail is agreed at the next spending review. This is disappointing and should also be seen in the context of an unprecedented £1.5bn cut to the Welsh budget in this term. We will now consider the details of the proposals ahead of a full response to the National Assembly for Wales on Tuesday."

     
  12.  
    12:04: Carwyn Jones on Welsh offer
    Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones

    Responding to the the government's announcement today, First Minister Carwyn Jones - a Labour politician - said: "The proposals only go some of the way to matching Labour's devolution offer already set out by Ed Miliband, but they fall short in crucial areas - such as on policing." He claims "Wales is still not being treated with the same respect as that being afforded to Scotland and this continuing imbalanced approach is damaging to the UK".

     
  13.  
    @elashton 12:02: Emily Ashton, Buzzfeed senior political correspondent

    tweets: No 10 was asked if Cameron would be sorry to see "a bullet between Emwazi's eyes": "The PM wants to see the murderers brought to justice."

     
  14.  
    11:54: A 'full house'
    Mark Reckless

    Mark Reckless tells the BBC's Vicki Young that Nigel Farage will be speaking to a "very full room" at the UKIP spring conference today. Less than 24 hours ago, the UKIP leader was listened to by a rather threadbare audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference in the US state of Maryland.

     
  15.  
    11:51: Time for a fruitcake?
    Cake for sale at UKIP conference

    UKIP activists are taking a quick coffee break in Margate - and are being encouraged to visit the stalls in the Winter Gardens venue, where fruitcake is among the items available for purchase.

     
  16.  
    11:50: CBI on 'devolution risk'

    The CBI has said a referendum must be held before powers over income tax are devolved to the Welsh Assembly. Reacting to the government's proposals, the business group says any transfer of powers must be done in a "careful, considered and transparent manner". "For the Welsh economy to prosper there has to be a renewed commitment from all politicians to deliver a devolution dividend not a devolution risk premium," said Chris Sutton, chair of CBI Wales.

     
  17.  
    11:39: Still friends?
    Nick Clegg and David Cameron

    Do Dave and Nick still like each other nearly five years on from those chummy scenes in the Downing Street rose garden at the birth of the coalition? That was the question to the pair as they staged what might well be their final public appearance together in Cardiff. Well, as our picture below shows, they can still enjoy a laugh together. Mr Cameron said they had had their differences and arguments but had worked together to deliver "bold and brave" policies. Mr Clegg was equally diplomatic, saying they had proved coalitions can work and a "novel way of governing has done exceptional things in exceptional circumstances". They would save the gripes about each other's personalities for the election campaign, joked Mr Cameron.

    David Cameron and Nick Clegg
     
  18.  
    11:27: 'Number one priority'

    The prime minister says he will not discuss specific threats to the UK, but insists it is his "number one priority" that "when there are people anywhere in the world who commit appalling and heinous crimes against British citizens, we will do every we can with the police, with the security services, with all we have at our disposal to find these people and put them out of action".

     
  19.  
    11:23: Breaking News

    David Cameron has reacted to the naming of the man previously known only as 'Jihadi John' as Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born Briton from west London. He says he thinks it is important for the public to "get behind" the security services, adding that "even in the last few months their dedication and work has saved us from plots on the streets of the United Kingdom that could have done immense damage".

     
  20.  
    11:16: Cheeky stunt
    Dancers promoting the musical The Producers in Margate

    A Nazi-themed troupe of dancers and a World War Two tank gate crashed the start of UKIP's spring conference in Margate earlier. The seven-strong group were promoting a production of the Mel Brooks musical The Producers, which opens in Bromley, in South London, next month.

     
  21.  
    11:14: Income tax for Wales?

    David Cameron says he is a "double-yes man": he thinks Wales does need a referendum on whether or not it should set its own income tax - and if it happens he will be advising people in Wales to vote in favour of having such powers. Nick Clegg says there is a consensus across government - and the coalition parties - that there are no reasons not to hold such a referendum.

     
  22.  
    11:12: 'Devolution with a purpose'

    David Cameron says "both of Wales's governments can do all they can within their powers to make Wales prosper for decades to come", describing the settlement announced today as "devolution with a purpose". Nick Clegg says it is "truly a deal worth celebrating", taking Wales "another step towards home rule for Wales and a stronger, fairer Britain". For the detail on what the government has announced today, have a look at the main BBC News story here.

     
  23.  
    11:06: Cameron and Clegg in Wales
    David Cameron and Nick Clegg

    Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg have begun speaking about the new settlement proposed for Wales - fittingly, they're holding the news conference in what Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb calls the "great Welsh cathedral" that is the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

     
  24.  
    11:00: NHS 'stolen' by establishment parties
    Louise Bours, UKIP's health spokeswoman

    Louise Bours MEP, UKIP's health spokeswoman, is next to speak in Margate. She says the "establishment parties have stolen the NHS". There have been "endless top-down reorganisations that drain it of cash", motivated "not [by] political need but political opportunism". She says patient care has suffered due to "policies of uncontrolled mass immigration".

     
  25.  
    @andybell5news 10:56: Andy Bell, 5 News political editor

    tweets: Ed Balls on my train to Leeds for fees announcement "you won't have wasted your journey" he says #GE2015

     
  26.  
    @VickiYoung01 10:56: Vicki Young, BBC chief political correspondent

    tweets: Lots of platform audience interaction at #UKIP conf. Risks sounding a bit like a pantomime.

     
  27.  
    10:55: Farages in Margate
    Kirsten Farage arrives at the UKIP spring conference

    Nigel Farage's wife, Kirsten, has arrived for the UKIP spring conference in Margate. There has been some doubt as to whether the UKIP leader will be speaking today given that he has just flown back from a gathering of conservative politicians in the United States. But as we speak, he is billed to appear at just after 16:00 GMT.

     
  28.  
    10:43: EU 'decaying and deluded'
    UKIP badges on sale at its spring conference

    Turning to Europe, Suzanne Evans says the UK is "more than just a star on someone else's flag" - she says she wants to see the country "freed from the demands of a decaying and deluded EU". She recites a list of prime ministers since Ted Heath, and says: "By one treacherous treaty after treacherous treaty they handed power that should still be vested in parliament, in Westminster, in the people of Britain, over to Brussels." And she adds that Labour and the Conservatives are the true parties of "little Englanders" - UKIP "aren't the ones who want to stay in the shadows jumping at Frau Merkel's every command".

     
  29.  
    10:35: Cast-iron guarantees?

    Suzanne Evans, who only took over responsibility for UKIP's manifesto last month, says successive promises by party leaders have been broken, such as Nick Clegg vowing not to raise tuition fees, and David Cameron promising a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. She says: "That's the trouble with cast-iron guarantees - they can be a bit brittle."

     
  30.  
    10:32: Manifesto 'quality, not quantity'
    UKIP deputy chairwoman Suzanne Evans

    UKIP's Deputy Chairman Suzanne Evans is next up. She opens her speech with a joke referencing her party's oft-mocked 2010 manifesto, which was 427 pages long. The 2015 version, she insists, won't be calling for taxi drivers to wear uniforms, people to wear formal-dress to the theatre, or for the Circle Line on the London Underground to be actually shaped like a circle again. She says in 2015, the party's manifesto will focus on "quality, not quantity" and potential "bear traps" will be spotted and avoided.

     
  31.  
    10:29: UKIP 'party of the NHS'

    Mark Reckless tells the audience at the UKIP spring conference his party is "the party of the NHS": promising to back local health boards, spend £3bn more on the NHS, transform dementia care, and abolish what he calls a "tax on illness" - hospital car parking charges.

     
  32.  
    10:29: Going beyond 'UKIP's base'

    Mark Reckless, who was re-elected to Parliament as a UKIP MP in November, is talking about issues which he says can help the party "reach beyond its base" - including planning, the NHS and energy. On the EU, he says UKIP wants to leave "not because we are nationalists but because we are democrats".

     
  33.  
    10:29: Reckless speech to UKIP
    Mark Reckless

    UKIP MP Mark Reckless is formally opening its spring conference in Margate. He starts by joking that his appearance is set to be less newsworthy than that at UKIP's autumn conference in September, when his dramatic arrival in Doncaster confirmed that he had defected from the Conservatives.

     
  34.  
    10:22: Tuition fees 'politically toxic' Alex Forsyth BBC News Education Correspondent

    The BBC's Alex Forsyth says Labour "will hope after all these years of deliberation, they've come up with a policy that's going to appeal to voters and makes financial sense - but the critics so far aren't convinced". She adds that tuition fees are "politically toxic territory", having burned both the last Labour government and - of course - the Lib Dems under Nick Clegg.

     
  35.  
    @robindbrant 10:19: Robin Brant, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: Local #UKIP man Tim Scott tells Margate audience "we're on the march...they're scared of us...let's not give them any more ammunition"

     
  36.  
    @robindbrant 10:14: Robin Brant, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: .@UKIP chairman 'have we peaked?' Margate audience 'nooooo' #ge2015

     
  37.  
    10:06: Daily Politics line-up Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    A veritable bonanza on the Daily Politics today - join Andrew Neil and the following guests at 12:00 GMT: journalist Harry Cole; Atul Hatwal of Labour Uncut; the American pollster Frank Luntz; UKIP Deputy Chairman Suzanne Evans; Conservative MP David Willetts; House of Cards creator Lord Dobbs; and the Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate in Hampstead and Kilburn, Maajid Nawaz.

    Daily Politics guests
     
  38.  
    @robindbrant 10:04: Robin Brant, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: What is it about tea towels in #ge2015 ? @IsabelHardman @IainMcNicol

    Nigel Farage tea towel
     
  39.  
    09:50: Woe for Ed Balls?
    Ed Miliband and Ed Balls

    The website Labour Uncut reports that "senior members" of Ed Miliband's inner circle are planning to encourage the Labour leader to sack Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls in the event the party has to secure a post-election coalition deal with the SNP: "Insiders familiar with these discussions over the past few weeks describe a scenario where Labour would have to 'reset its economic standing with the public' and demonstrate to the SNP that it would not be 'wedded to austerity-lite'. For some of Ed Miliband's closest and oldest advisers, removing Ed Balls would achieve both objectives as well as ridding them of a potentially truculent and obstructive Chancellor."

     
  40.  
    09:34: UKIP are 'picked on'
    Suzanne Evans

    UKIP Deputy Chairman Suzanne Evans tells the BBC's Vicki Young that UKIP are being "singled out" over offensive comments made by members and supporters of the party. She says among candidates from other parties across the country there is "an amazing amount of racism, sexism, and fraud", but UKIP are being "picked on". She adds that as UKIP's spring conference gets under way, the party has taken comfort from the fact that a local poll in Thanet South, where Nigel Farage is bidding to be an MP, puts the UKIP leader 11% ahead of his nearest opponent.

     
  41.  
    09:23: Clarkson vs Dugher
    Jeremy Clarkson, in a promotional picture for BBC series Top Gear

    Shadow Transport Secretary Michael Dugher - sometimes described as Labour's "attack dog" - has sunk his teeth into Jeremy Clarkson, scourge of the hybrid-driving, muesli-eating classes. Dugher described the Top Gear presenter as "bit of an idiot" in an interview with the House magazine, saying he was "not remotely representative of motorists" and just "represents himself". Clarkson snapped back on Twitter: "Labour's transport spokesman says he doesn't like Top Gear. Good. We don't make it for people who wear pink ties."

     
  42.  
    09:09: Questions for Labour Robert Peston Economics editor
    Ed Miliband

    The BBC's economics editor Robert Peston looks at some questions Ed Miliband needs to answer about his plans to reduce tuition fees, as well as examining just how Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls might pay for the measure.

     
  43.  
    08:58: Labour tuition fee pledge Nick Robinson Political editor

    BBC political editor Nick Robinson says Labour's plan to cut tuition fees from £9000 to £6000 is "one of the biggest spending pledges Ed Miliband has made", and adds that it is interesting to note the Labour leader's priorities at a time when government cuts more generally have to be made. With the debate over the policy having barely begun, why has he chosen to spend so much on university students rather than schools, the NHS, or more Sure Start centres?

     
  44.  
    08:52: Cable on coalition

    Pressed as to whether the Labour plans to reduce fees would constitute a "red line" in any potential coalition negotiations between the Lib Dems and Ed Miliband's party, Vince Cable says simply: "It would certainly make it more difficult to work with them." The business secretary says the Lib Dems would insist on fees remaining the same, but says they're not talking about "red lines".

     
  45.  
    08:43: Cable on tuition fees
    Vince Cable

    Business Secretary Vince Cable tells BBC Breakfast that the current tuition fee system is "fair, sustainable, been praised by international bodies, and making sure we have a high standard of university education". He says Labour plans to curb pension tax reliefs in order to pay for a cut in fees is a "completely bogus, fictional system of funding". Mr Cable adds that Ed Miliband is making promises for short-term political gain that "they would find it very hard to deliver, and if they did deliver it it would do a lot of harm".

     
  46.  
    @paulwaugh 08:35: Paul Waugh, editor of PoliticsHome

    tweets: Greg Clark 1st reaction to EdM tuition fees plan: savers + "taxpayers will pay the price for a policy that will cause chaos"

     
  47.  
    @RebeccaKeating 08:12: Rebecca Keating, BBC parliamentary reporter

    tweets: #UKIP getting more media savvy - yesterday this poster at Margate conf venue said 'Circus of Horrors'

    Poster
     
  48.  
    08:11: The Westminster House of Cards... The Spectator
    Parliament at night

    Today marks the return of scheming American politico Frank Underwood - played by Kevin Spacey - on the Netflix drama House of Cards. Originally based on a classic British series, the re-make spawned its own British parody organised by The Spectator. See the Machiavellian tendencies of some familiar faces from the green benches on full display here (YouTube link).

     
  49.  
    @michaelsavage 08:10: Michael Savage, Times chief political correspondent

    tweets: Many Labour insiders believe helping students with maintenance costs would have been better way to help those from poorer backgrounds.

     
  50.  
    08:06: Student finance 'imploding' BBC Radio 4 Today
    Graduates

    Questioned about Labour's planned tuition fee cut, shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie declines to elaborate on how it will be paid for, saying Ed Miliband will set out the details later. He tells the BBC the current system is "imploding" and the UK cannot afford the "next generation" to be saddled with ever-increasing debt. He suggests that universities, as well as students, will be "very satisfied" with what his party is proposing.

     
  51.  
    07:57: Welsh devolution BBC Radio 4 Today
    Chamber of the National Assembly of Wales

    Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb has been defending the government's devolution plans, saying they will give the Welsh people a "stronger voice in their own affairs". He tells the BBC that it is "not healthy" that the Welsh Government currently raises almost none of the £15bn it spends every year, describing it as "one great big spending department". The devolution package will make the Welsh Assembly more accountable while strengthening Wales' position within the UK, he adds.

     
  52.  
    07:56: 'Third-rate devolution' BBC Radio 4 Today
    Leanne Wood

    Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has told Radio 4 that plans to be set out later by David Cameron and Nick Clegg to transfer more powers to Wales from Westminster don't go far enough. She says Wales needs to have "decades of funding disadvantage rectified", with more tax-raising powers than have been promised so Wales "can stand on our own two feet". Ms Wood adds that there is a "stark contrast" between the cross-party consensus on devolution with regard to Scotland and the situation in Wales, adding that "there is no good reason why Wales should have third-rate devolution".

     
  53.  
    07:37: Any Questions? 20:00 GMT BBC Radio 4
    Jonathan Dimbleby

    On Any Questions? with Jonathan Dimbleby tonight: Green leader Natalie Bennett, UKIP's only Scottish MEP David Coburn, the columnist and broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer, and the Energy Secretary Ed Davey.

     
  54.  
    07:34: Another day at the office
    Palace of Westminster

    The perennial accusation that MPs have it easy has flared up in the dog days of this parliament with the recent controversy over second jobs. Most people's idea of Commons debate is the finger-pointing and heckling of PMQs - but here's just some of the topics being discussed or legislated upon today in the Commons, in a rather more sedate fashion: tyre safety; funeral services; firearm and shotgun licensing; e-cigarettes; sugar in food and drinks; wild animals in circuses; and investigations into deaths in mental health settings.

     
  55.  
    07:33: Cable on tuition fees
    Vince Cable

    Business Secretary Vince Cable has attacked Labour's plan to cut the highest tuition fees by a third as "financially illiterate". Mr Cable, who helped design the current system of student finance, said existing arrangements were "fair and sustainable" and Labour's plans would "reduce the support for disadvantaged students and benefit only the richest". He added: "It will do great harm to universities and create a costly black hole in the national budget."

     
  56.  
    @bbckamal 07:17: Kamal Ahmed, BBC business editor

    tweets: Breaking: Lloyds to pay first dividend since 2008, 0.75p per share, valued at £535m

    and

    tweets: Breaking: Lloyds CEO Antonio Horta-Osorio remuneration package will total £11m after shares rise by 193% since 2012

     
  57.  
    07:15: UKIP and the Barnett formula
    UKIP leader Nigel Farage and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

    We just heard from Robin Brant that UKIP will announce it supports George Osborne's strategy for eliminating the deficit by 2018. But the Financial Times reports that as part of that strategy, Nigel Farage's party would back ending the use of the Barnett formula - which currently dictates how much money for public spending is given to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by Westminster. UKIP, says the FT, wants "heavy cuts" to that block grant.

     
  58.  
    @BBCNormanS 07:13: Norman Smith, BBC assistant political editor

    tweets: Understood Labour tuition fee cut to be paid for by "better off mums and dads"

     
  59.  
    07:03: Cameron in Wales
    David Cameron

    David Cameron is also on the campaign trail today, addressing the Welsh Conservatives' annual conference. He is expected to spell out details of fresh powers for the Welsh Assembly, including minimum funding for the Welsh government and allowing Cardiff to raise cash from the money markets for major projects. The prime minister is also likely to talk about the economy and address Labour accusations that his attacks on the performance of the Welsh health service amount to a "war on Wales".

     
  60.  
    07:00: Farage 'backs' Tory deficit plans Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News

    Robin Brant says that at today's conference session UKIP's economic spokesman Patrick O'Flynn will tell delegates that his party supports Chancellor George Osborne's strategy to wipe out the deficit by 2018. Aside from that, though, there are likely to be few policy announcements, as the party's manifesto is still being tinkered with.

     
  61.  
    06:59: Question Time re-cap: MPs' second jobs
    Rachel Reeves

    Labour's Rachel Reeves followed her leader's line on Question Time last night, saying that being an MP was a "full-time job" and that second jobs for MPs were "plain wrong". She said she already earned about three times the salary of some of her constituents in Leeds West. The Lib Dems' Tessa Munt agreed with the general point, saying it was disgraceful that 281 out of 650 MPs currently hold second jobs. But the Conservatives' Grant Shapps echoed David Cameron by arguing that the Commons would be worse off if filled with people who had "only ever worked in politics".

     
  62.  
    06:50: Bodyguards for Farage?
    Police escort Nigel Farage out of a venue in Rotherham earlier this month

    Nigel Farage will be among friends when he addresses the UKIP party faithful in Margate later. But his trips round the country in recent times haven't been without incident. He was hit by a placard on one campaign visit last year and found himself barricaded in a building in Rotherham last month by a protest outside. The BBC now understands that UKIP has requested bodyguards for Mr Farage as he tours the country ahead of the 7 May election, making an application to the Home Office.

     
  63.  
    06:49: Tuition fees: 'Labour's biggest ticket' Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor
    Radcliffe Camera

    More from Norman Smith on Ed Miliband's decision to curb pension tax reliefs to pay for reduced university tuition fees. Norman Smith says it is significant that "at a time when the Tories are straining every sinew to appeal to the grey vote, Mr Miliband is asking those of us of a certain age to prepare to have our pensions hit to pay for our children". The universities themselves are "deeply wary" of the policy, he suggests, fearing it will make them more dependent on state funding. At "north of £2bn", the policy will be "Labour's biggest ticket" going into the May election - but there's "no disguising [there is] opposition to it both inside and outside the Labour Party".

     
  64.  
    06:41: Tuition fees: 'British promise' Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    Norman Smith tells BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the drive to reduce tuition fees is something "very personal" for Ed Miliband, who has been pushing this policy for "a long, long time now". It's to be paid for by curbing pension tax reliefs - and indeed, "the manner in which he's going to pay for this is almost as interesting as the policy itself". The Labour leader will try to sell the policy on grounds of "inter-generational fairness", which in reality means he will be asking "tomorrow's pensioners to dip into their pockets to pay for their children". Ed Miliband's "British promise" is that every generation should be able to prosper more than the preceding one.

     
  65.  
    06:40: Question Time re-cap
    Panellists on Thursday's Question Time

    It was a lively Question Time last night, with top billing given to the revelations that UK net migration reached 298,000 in the year ending September 2014. UKIP's Mark Reckless was scathing, while Conservative chairman Grant Shapps conceded the figures were "disappointing". Labour's shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves argued that more needs to be done for migrants earning less than the minimum wage, while Lib Dem Tessa Munt joined her party leader Nick Clegg in saying David Cameron's initial vow to reduce immigration was "a silly promise to have made".

     
  66.  
    06:27: UKIP conference
    Nigel Farage speaking in the United States

    UKIP's two-day gathering in Margate comes at a crucial time for the party, will polls suggesting it could win a number of seats - including several in Kent - on 7 May. Among those speaking on Friday include deputy leader Paul Nuttall and health spokeswoman Louise Bours. Party leader Nigel Farage will also address activists at about 16.00 GMT. He has had a busy few hours. On Thursday, he addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference in the US state of Maryland, sharing a stage with Tea Party movement star Sarah Palin.

     
  67.  
    06:26: Farage's fortunes Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News
    Nigel Farage

    The BBC's Robin Brant says UKIP's spring conference in Margate is a "rallying cry" for Nigel Farage, with the UKIP leader contesting neighbouring Thanet South in the general election. A win there is "essential for his survival".

     
  68.  
    06:25: Miliband's tuition fees pledge
    Ed Miliband

    Ed Miliband is to set out Labour's plans to cut £9,000 university tuition fees by a third. In a speech in Leeds, he will reveal how a Labour government - which originally introduced fees in 2006 - would find the money to pay for such a reduction. The rising level of student debt has been a "disaster for the future of Britain", he will say. After warnings from some quarters that a reduction in fees would lead to a funding gap for universities, the Labour leader will reveal today how he would cover the costs.

     
  69.  
    06:14: Good morning

    Hello and welcome to the BBC's Live Page coverage for Friday 27 February. The business in the Commons today is almost entirely focused on the official reading of legislation - but don't think that means it'll be a quiet day in the political world. We're coming in to spring conference season: UKIP's kicks off in Margate today, and the Lib Dems gather in Cardiff for the last meeting of party activists before the general election. Labour leader Ed Miliband will set out his party's plans to cut tuition fees to £6,000 if it is elected. Chancellor George Osborne will be in Manchester to talk devolution of NHS services but is also likely to face questions about a report from MPs that says his claim last year to have halved the UK's £1.7bn EU budget surcharge is "not supported by the facts". We'll bring you all the latest news, views and analysis during the day - from the BBC and beyond.

     

Features

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • BooksNew novels

    BBC Culture takes a look at ten new books to read in March

Programmes

  • A robot holding a table legClick Watch

    The robots who build flat-pack furniture - teaching machines to work collaboratively

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.