UK’s 2012 Budget May Break Apart More Families

May 2, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. bear the brunt [of] (v./idiom) 
[bair][thuh][bruhnt]  – to receive the larger part of something unpleasant
Example: Employees bear the brunt when their company goes bankrupt.

2. balloon (v.) [buh-loon– to suddenly grow bigger
Example: The number of unemployed people in Spain has ballooned to 5.64 million.

3. deficit (n.) [def-uh-sit] – an amount that is less than what is needed
Example: The city cannot complete the project due to a deficit in its 2011 income.

4. succeed (v.) [suhk-seed– to come next in an order or a series
Example: According to tradition, Crown Prince Naruhito will succeed Emperor Akihito.

5. chancellor (n.) [chan-suh-ler, -sler, chahn-] - a government official or minister (usually used in Europe)
Example: Plans for the new budget must be approved by the Chancellor of Finance.

Read the text below.

Families may have to bear the brunt of new tax rules adopted by the UK Treasury.

To decrease the UK’s ballooning deficit, the government has made major changes in its 2012 budget—including changes in taxes and benefits for families with children.

One budget change is the cancellation of the universal Child Benefit in which every family with one child receives £20.30 each week and an additional £13.40 for every succeeding child.  Now, a household with a parent earning more than £60,000 a year will completely lose the benefit. 

The Treasury has also raised the tax from 5% to 7% on homes worth £2 million and up.  

Furthermore, the Institute for Fiscal Studies reports that because of budget changes, the average incomes of households with children would drop by about £1,250 a year.

The Family and Parenting Institute (FPI), a charity that protects family well-being, predicts that these additional taxes and reduced benefits will cause deep worry and money troubles among couples, and may ultimately result in divorce.

Data from the Center for National Statistics show that divorces already increased by almost 5% in 2010 in England and Wales. 

As such, the FPI has asked Chancellor George Osborne, head of financial and economic matters, to create rules that will help protect rather than break families.
But according to a Treasury spokesperson, the government has tried to make changes that would be fair to all. She said that families in the future will face even greater difficulty paying back the country’s debts if money-saving changes are not done sooner.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you believe that raising taxes can help solve a country’s economic problems? Please explain your answer.
·         Would you be willing to pay higher taxes to pay the national debt?  Why?

Discussion B

·         Does the government have the right to demand its people to give more taxes?  Why?
·         What goods or services do you think should be taxed more heavily, and which should not be taxed at all? Explain your answer.


May 2, 2012