The new MP for Winchester & Chandler's Ford met his match recently in the form of six-year old Lucy Stoneley from Chandler's Ford.
Lucy wrote to Steve about the imminent removal of Child Trust Funds as part of the coalition Government plans to reduce the budget deficit. She wanted to make the point that the second payment, currently made on a child’s 7th birthday, will end just a few days before her birthday while her slightly older classmates will still get the money.
Steve took up her case with the Treasury and received a letter, personally addressed to Lucy from the Financial Secretary (and Fareham MP) Mark Hoban. It explained that given the change required new legislation and the Government’s priority is to reduce the national debt, August 1st was the earliest possible date the change could be made and the Government had no choice but to act fast.
As well as phasing out the second payment at seven, Ministers announced in the emergency budget plans to reduce the at-birth payment to £50 previously made to new parents.
Lucy and her family; sister Ella (10), Mum (Jane) and Dad (Ben) – who are both police officers – were invited to Parliament to meet with Steve where they also had a tour of the historic building.
Speaking afterwards, Steve said: “I used to write to MPs when I was Lucy’s age so her letter really struck a chord with me. It is horribly unfair to miss out on something like this when your friends are benefitting and all credit to Lucy for making the effort to put us on the spot. I wish we didn’t have to cut anything but the state of the country’s finances is so dire we have no choice. Personally I am not sure taxing parents to give money to their children is the best use of Government, especially at a time of financial crisis, but the principle of encouraging a savings culture is to be welcomed and encouraged. I will be working with the new Government to see what we can do foster that spirit in all young people - and especially their parents - without costing the taxpayer millions.”
Pictured; Steve Brine with Lucy (holding her letter from Mark Hoban) and sister Ella on the Terrace at the Houses of Parliament.
Steve Brine is active right across his Winchester & Chandler's Ford constituency. You can now see news specific to where you live via our community pages.