Opposition criticises benefit report

Willie O'Dea claimed the report would result in an ?administrative quagmire?. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Willie O'Dea claimed the report would result in an ?administrative quagmire?. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Wed, Feb 20, 2013, 00:00

Fianna Fail social protection spokesman Willie O?Dea said middle-income families and those with ?quite low? earnings would get less child benefit if the report published today was implemented.

He criticised the proposed new two-tier system, ?because it?s linked with the abolition of the Family Income Supplement?.

Mr O?Dea claimed the report would result in an ?administrative quagmire? that would need 500 extra public servants to implement.

?The report says the universality of child benefit should be maintained on the basis that all children should be valued. Then the report goes on to say that some should be valued more or less as the case may be than others,? he said.

?If there are people in receipt of very high levels of income that we feel shouldn?t benefit from child benefit well then tax those people more. Tax the parents; leave the kids alone.?

Sinn Fein's social protection spokesperson Aengus O Snodaigh said recommendations from the report should be shelved

?The recommendations of this report should be disregarded as they are contrary to tackling child poverty in Ireland. Child poverty is on the increase in this state, increasing from 6.3 per cent in 2008 to 9.3 per cent in 2011, and we know it is continuing to rise,? he said.

These recommendations will further impoverish lower and middle range earners who are being constantly squeezed. This is not the way to tackle child poverty.?

Director of the National Women?s Council of Ireland Orla O?Connor called on the Government to make at least 60 per cent of payments universal and invest savings on child benefit into childcare.

?The NWCI welcomes the maintenance of a universal payment to all families. A universal payment is an important acknowledgement that the State needs to support the care of all children.