National Women’s Council of Ireland calls for clarity on child benefit proposals
29 May 2012
Child Benefit is critical for families to support the costs of raising children. Now more than ever low and middle income families are relying on Child Benefit as an essential part of household budgets, stated Orla O'Connor, Acting CEO NWCI.
In response to the comments reported in the media by Minister of Social Protection Joan Burton regarding changes to Child Benefit the NWCI is asking the Minister to consider all of the costs in relation to children when making proposals to change Child Benefit. 'Child Benefit is the only payment that families receive for the costs of rearing children - food, clothing, education and particularly childcare costs which remain the one of the highest in the EU. An OECD report in 2010 showed that households with young children in Ireland spend on average 41 per cent of their income on childcare. Child Benefit has been repeatedly cut as a result of austerity and the NWCI in supporting mothers will oppose any further cut to the payment. It is important that Child Benefit remain a universal payment and at current levels which only represents a contribution to the costs of raising children today' she continued.
The NWCI, in its submission on Child Income Supports to the Tax and Welfare Advisory Group of the Department of Social Protection, made clear that any attempts to reform Child Benefit must also include measures to recognise the work of women who care for their children in the home and make childcare more affordable and accessible to parents.
Ms O'Connor said 'The NWCI is calling on the Minister to provide clarity with regard to the proposals to change Child Benefit , to publish the Report on Child Income Supports of the Tax and Welfare Advisory Group and have it publically debated. It must be understood by the Government that families are relying on every penny and any tentative announcements cause unnecessary additional stress on families and mothers who are already struggling to pay the bills and juggle staying in work with raising families'.