Tuesday 14 October 2014: For immediate release
Breathing Space for Children and Families in Budget 2015
The Children’s Rights Alliance reacted to today’s budget by welcoming the fact that there is finally an end to the years of harsh budgetary cuts for children and families. This budget provides breathing space to children and families who have disproportionately suffered in previous budgets.
The Children’s Rights Alliance welcomes:
- An extra €26 million for Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, bringing its budget to €635 million
- An increase in Child Benefit by €5 per child
- An increase in the School Meals Programme of €2 million to €39 million
- An increase to the budget of the national childcare information system of €5.6 million which will track vulnerable children
- An 1,700 additional new full time posts in education - 920 new mainstream teachers, 480 resources teachers and 365 special needs assistants
- €35m allocated to child detention services
- Cigarettes up 40 cent to over €10 a packet for leading brands, helping to discourage children from smoking
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive, of the Children’s Rights Alliance said today:
“This Budget won’t bring families onto the streets protesting but neither will they be celebrating just yet. The €5 increase to Child Benefit is welcome but more action is needed to lift the 1 in 10 children out of child poverty. The threshold for universal social charge was increased and that’s good news for low incomes families. So too is the news that parents returning to work will be enabled to retain the full Qualified Child Increase of €29.80 for first year.
“The Government managed to find an extra €26 million for the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) to shore up its services for vulnerable children in residential and foster care. Ultimately our child protection system will be in a stronger place because of this investment.”
“Education achieves a €60 million increase. This will see 1,700 new additional full time teacher posts; 920 new mainstream teachers, 480 resources teachers and 325 Special Needs Assistants. Budget 2015 builds on similar announcements last year to meet rising pupil numbers as well as to provide necessary resource teaching for children with special educational needs.”
“Health has also managed a substantial increase of €305 million some of which will go free GP care for under six year olds and mental health services.”
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive, is available for comment on 087 653 1069.