Wednesday 9 December 2009: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
**BUDGET PRESS STATEMENT**
Jillian van Turnhout, Chief Executive
BUDGET 2010 WEIGHS HEAVILY ON CHILDREN
“The Minister for Finance said that ‘the worst is over’, but the reality of Budget 2010 for children and families is that there will be no respite from scrimping and saving, to make ends meet. The Minister for Finance spoke of having to make ‘very difficult choices’, yet there can be no more difficult a choice than that now forced upon parents today – with a 10% drop in child benefit and the introduction of 50c prescription charges, among other costs – to choose whether they heat their house, put food on the table or buy medicine. Moreover, young unemployed people have had their job seekers’ allowance slashed – again the young are being asked to pay a higher price. Young families who nurture the future of this country have been left adrift.
“Today’s Budget, and its cuts, will be an accumulative weight on children, young people and their families, from which they – and our society – may take years to recover. The Minister’s speech rightly focused on responding to 2009 issues: the credit crunch, floods, the environment, cross-border shopping and Ted Kennedy. But the Minister’s speech failed to acknowledge the major child abuse scandals that have touched every household in the country and is having international repercussions around the world. Where is the Government’s financial commitment to our child protection and care systems, in response to the Ryan and Murphy reports?
“Tomorrow, the Alliance will issue a comprehensive analysis* of the Budget’s impact on children – essential reading for any politician interested in the welfare and rights of children. This analysis will include a thorough examination of the Budget’s ‘small print’, and incorporate all measures announced in supplementary departmental budgets (to be released this evening) affecting the lives of children. Our analysis will clearly demonstrate the impossible burden placed on children and their families within the departments of social welfare, education, health and elsewhere.
“Budget 2010 was the Government’s opportunity to show that they are serious about investing in children and upholding the rights of children. The only glimmer of hope is the commitment to the closer integration of the tax and social welfare systems, which is necessary for identifying those most in need.
“This Budget will prove itself to be a dead weight that will drag more and more families into darkness and despair, depriving our country of a brighter future that we so desperately need. Today’s Budget is not in the best interests of the child, it is therefore not in the best interests of the country.”
Jillian van Turnhout
*To secure an immediate copy of the Alliance’s comprehensive analysis, email firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information, please contact:
Carys Thomas, Communications Director
Tel: (01) 662 9400 / 087-7702845; Fax: (01) 662 9355
Notes to Editor:
- Child Benefit is paid to 596,108 families on behalf of 1,141,938 children (2008)
- 2006 research found that over 60,000 households with children would fall into poverty if weekly income was reduced by 10%, and over 30,000 households with children would fall into poverty if their weekly income was reduced by up to €5. (Combat Poverty Research Seminar Series, ‘Living around the poverty line’ January 2009)
- Our pre-budget submission is on our website at www.childrensrights.ie