Boris Johnson reveals how his family spent their child benefit

7th January, 2013 9:42 am

Boris on where the £47,547.40 in child benefit (his calculation) has gone:

“We’re looking at 10 half-decent ski holidays here, or about five luxury safaris. We could have laid down a cellarful of Chateau Lafite, or picked up an Old Master drawing, or a share of a lovely little place in Spain.”

This is probably intended to be an argument against Child Benefit. But it’s not exactly an argument for Boris Johnson…

Most people facing cuts are looking at more serious drawbacks than downsizing their ski holidays. But then again, most people facing cuts aren’t paid £250,000 for their second job, and wouldn’t call it “chickenfeed”.


  • Chilbaldi

    Boris has a point re child benefits though, doesn’t he? A point which he makes very well to 99% of the country other than Labourlist.

    • John Ruddy

      Surely Child Benefit goes to the mother, not the profligate father?

    • Amber_Star

      Figures show that the cost to administer the Child Benefit tax rules is higher than the saving.

      And the Coalition may be about to give tax relief for employing a nanny; if the relief applies at higher rates of tax, Boris & Co. are about to get a nice replacement for any child benefit they’ve lost.

      • Hugh

        “Figures show that the cost to administer the Child Benefit tax rules is higher than the saving.”

        Is there a link to those figures?

      • Brumanuensis

        In reality no-one knows what the administrative costs will be, for any mooted savings through means-testing. This in itself is pretty damning, but I imagine that the fact that the government have chosen the most complicated method imaginable (or as the IFS put it, it creates ‘incoherence’ and ‘administrative complexity’) means that savings may well be nominal.

  • JoblessDave

    This article is an odd one, with a message (“Boris is rich”) that doesn’t seem to have been fully thought through:

    a) The original article context clearly says that this is what £50,000 could have paid for, rather than saying that it is what it paid for (although, as the picture shows, Boris is known to take ski holidays).
    b) Is the official Labour position on this not that Boris, like any other millionaire (to whom £250,000 is indeed “chickenfeed”), SHOULD be entitled to receive it, even if it allows additional luxuries (such as the ski holidays)?
    c) Here’s the really critical point: if all millionaires were encouraged to live lives of Scrooge-like austerity in solidarity with the rest of us, we would suffer far more – a sort of democratic “beggar-thy-neighbour” policy: no – we want the rich kids to spend all their money on baubles: preferably British-made to keep the money inside our economic borders.

  • Winston_from_the_Ministry

    Did he call it “chickenfeed”?

    I can’t find the phrase in his article anywhere.

    • John Ruddy

      He called his Telegraph money “chickenfeed”, not the child benefit.

  • billbat

    Boris, Dave and George are also going to get a Tax Cut in April. Austerity? Only for us Plebs. They will be able to have even more Ski Holidays and Vintage Wine!!!

    • Hugh

      No, actually, the reduction in the point at which the 40% rate applies (kicking in at £34,370 as opposed to 35k) and the removal of child benefit means Boris and Dave are likely to be worse off come April. George might be raking in enough to benefit from the income tax cut, but then other tax changes also leave the most wealthy worse off.

  • franwhi

    It’s not “probably” an argument against Child benefit it IS an argument against child benefit for the rich from an article in Sunday’s Telegraph. I’m not a Boris fan but presenting his words shorn of all context is too easy and looks like a cheapshot since nobody lampoons Boris better than Boris.


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