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Proposal to tax child benefit - outrageous and sickening!!

Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2002

'The National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) is astonished and appalled that the Government is considering taxing Child Benefit' declared Ms Joanna McMinn, NWCI Director. 'It is both cynical and sickening to target children as a means of bringing the public finances into line' she continued. 'One in five children in Ireland live in relative poverty' added Ms McMinn. 'The proposed tax will affect all those in the tax net, including many low income families' she stated.

Ms McMinn pointed out that the increases in Child Benefit over the last few budgets were implemented to cover both child welfare and childcare. 'The increased Child Benefit payments in the last three years are the first step ever taken by any Irish Government to begin to support parents in paying for childcare. Childcare continues to be a financial problem for many families, with parents in Ireland spending an average of 20% of their income on childcare compared to an EU average of 8%' she stated. 'Despite the very welcome planned Government expenditure of 440 million euros until 2006, the childcare sector continues to be seriously under-developed. Because of the total neglect of childcare, by successive governments over 25 years, the planned investment is just a beginning and will only result in a fully developed childcare sector with ongoing and increased Government investment' continued Ms McMinn.

'For the first time in the history of the State, the increases in Child Benefit were beginning to be worth something to parents. For the first time, women could begin to look forward to the possibility of returning to the workforce with the hope of significant future increases in Child Benefit to assist with childcare' said Ms McMinn.

'So just when the possibility of genuinely eliminating child poverty and genuinely supporting parents in paying for childcare were on the horizon, the Government is planning to betray them' declared Ms Minn. 'We will not stand by and watch the Government scapegoat children and women' she concluded.