How governments should direct money to families with children is a constant topic of political debate. But the complexity of the ever-changing tax and benefits system makes its overall impact on families anything but transparent, and trends in government support for children hard to distinguish.
This report provides a comprehensive, quantitative analysis of trends in child-contingent support from the mid 1970s to the introduction of the new tax credits, and relates this to changes in tax and benefit policy, the characteristics of households with children, and the costs of raising children.
Stuart Adam is a Research Economist and Mike Brewer is a Senior Research Economist, both at the Institute for Fiscal Studies. They conduct research into how the UK tax and benefit system affects families with children.
Introduction; Methods and definitions: what is child-contingent support and how do we model it?; Financial support for children in the UK since 1975; The changing structure of support for children since 1975; The costs of children; Comparing the costs and benefits of children; Conclusion.