Tackling child poverty
Sir, – I am writing in connection with the forthcoming budget to highlight the fact that child benefit has not been increased since January 2016.
Compared to couples without children, universal child benefit is the only recognition that parents, who are both working and not entitled to any other form of social welfare, receive from the State.
In the past four years, the cost of living and providing for children and their education has increased, and an increase in the universal child benefit is overdue. The Minister for Children and this Government have directed any increased expenditure towards outsourced childcare providers or social welfare recipient benefits.
Similarly, tax changes made in prior years resulted in a smaller annual income increase for working parents, compared to the €5 per week increase for social welfare recipients.
One single change that would reduce child poverty without increasing expenditure would be to make the payment or part-payment in the form of vouchers that would only be accepted for payment for groceries, children’s clothing or footwear or schoolbooks.
I think it is important to remember all Irish families and provide a much-needed overdue contribution towards the costs of raising the next generation of taxpayers. – Yours, etc,