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On 29th January 2012 Andrew Marr interviewed Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan-Smith
IAIN DUNCAN SMITH:
” Because the principle behind all of our reforms – CMEC, the cap, universal credit – they have one principle which I am determined to see through, which is to get people who have fallen into benefits to get a sense of responsibility about what they do and to recognise they should always be striving to change their lives so that they actually contribute rather than take. And the cap lies behind this. The reason why I wouldn’t take child benefit out is first of all the level of the cap would rise in terms of salary to £40,000 or even £50,000, which would be ludicrous. And the second thing is this: you cannot go on, as we’ve been doing, detaching children from their parents. We keep speaking as though children are somehow there and what their parents do has no bearing. We have to show the parents that what you do, what choices you make in life have an effect on your children. You want to make positive choices, so that your children get positive outcomes “
Advice to the Government
“Children are rights-holders, and their rights are independent of those of their parents or carers. This principle is enshrined in domestic legislation, international human rights law and international treaties which the UK has signed-up to, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). As a result, children’s rights must be taken into account in the drafting of all legislation that affects them. Article 4 of the UNCRC states that the Government must take “all appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures” to ensure the realisation of rights protected under the UNCRC, and must also apply “the maximum extent of their available resources” to this purpose.
“We believe the UK Government should respect its obligations under the UNCRC and recommend that the government reconsider the planned cap on benefit payments because of the pernicious impact it will have on families.”
Maggie Atkinson – Children’s Commissioner for England
Patricia Lewsley-Mooney – Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People
Tam Baillie – Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People
Keith Towler – Children’s Commissioner for Wales
UN Convention on the Right of the Child
1. States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.
2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child’s parents, legal guardians, or family members.
1. States Parties shall recognize for every child the right to benefit from social security, including social insurance, and shall take the necessary measures to achieve the full realization of this right in accordance with their national law.
2. The benefits should, where appropriate, be granted, taking into account the resources and the circumstances of the child and persons having responsibility for the maintenance of the child, as well as any other consideration relevant to an application for benefits made by or on behalf of the child.