11,000 parents, grandparents, friends and supporters have now signed petitions set up by a voluntary group of parents calling on the Government to ‘leave child benefit alone’ as more hard-pressed families feel their voices are being ignored. The group says the measure, if implemented, will affect not just families on social welfare, but many low and middle income families who are also hurting as a result of the harsh measures in April’s supplementary budget. In addition, if the An Bord Snip Nua report is also implemented, they will be targeted again - and families cannot take any more.
Already, the group says, families are in a very vulnerable financial state since April’s budget – they pay more taxes, levies and find themselves with extra childcare expenses with the halving of the Early Childcare Supplement, which is due to be abolished from 2010. In addition, some have lost their mortgage interest relief and many find their homes are in negative equity. Their jobs are the ones being threatened by the downturn, and they rely on child benefit to help with the cost of rearing their children, even though, when means tested, these benefits would be taken from them.
The parent’s group is called PACUB (Protest Against Child Unfriendly Budget) and their website – http://www.childbenefit.info - gives people an opportunity to vent their feelings about Government plans to cut child benefit. Treasa Dovander, founder of PACUB said: “11,000 families have felt strongly enough to appeal to the government to ‘leave child benefit alone.’ Many have left emotional messages to An Taoiseach Brian Cowen explaining how the move will personally affect them.
“Families say they depend on this payment, and working families feel that they are being unfairly targeted. Our supporters are using their child benefit to feed their children, to pay for childcare, to pay the ‘voluntary’ contributions to schools, and thousands of other child-related expenses from nappies to school books and everything in between.”
“Everyone has their own reasons for supporting our campaign to save child benefit, but the key message is that no-one believes that children should pay for the mess created by the bankers, developers and politicians.”
“Child benefit is not some benevolent handout, as one PACUB supporter pointed out. It is a return of tax already paid in recognition of the additional costs and responsibilities of rearing children. It is designed to help mothers unable to work while rearing their children, to address the balance of income for families based on their number of children, and to afford families a similar existence to their co-workers.”
PACUB - Protest Against Child Unfriendly Budget - was established in April following the Supplementary Budget to give a voice to angry families who were disproportionately targeted by the measures announced, and who have been told to expect a similarly disproportionate and devastating financial attack from Minister Lenihan in the next budget.
Already 3,450 people have joined a Facebook group that is against the move to means-test, tax or flat rate cut child benefit. The online petition which currently has 5,500 signatures will close this September and will be officially handed to the Government. The group have also collected an additional 5,500 signatures on a written version. PACUB is calling on all like-minded people and politicians to show their support and sign the online version or print out a paper copy at http://www.childbenefit.info
Some of the Petition's Signatories:
1910 Ann O Connor Lone parents need child benefit for a number of reasons. It helps pay ESB bills clothe a child of helps with fuel for the month.
4472 Ann Brierton my husband and myself are unemployed and not receiving one penny from the state, that the moment we are living off the child benefit of 720e a month, how the hell do any goverment think that people can live on that, i have 4 children to feed and dress, they spend that on a new suit
4450 Nicola Jordan It's hard enough getting by after the increase in taxes and a paycut in work.
3028 Fionnuala Davis Even in the bad times of the 80's did the government of the time stoop this low and attack hard working families
1408 Adele McAdam As a stay at home mam our family is already struggling on one income, please do not touch our much needed child benefit!
1394 S Callaghan This government should be totally ashamed at making children suffer for their incompetence!! First Early Childcare Supplement, then this issue over Child Benefit and now cutting wards in the Children's Hospital!!! Disgraceful
1393 Janel O'Gorman This money is essential considering I have to pay 1,000 euro per month to a creche. Both myself and my husband have to work as we purchased our home during the boom.
262 Dom Kukuljica We're a single income family of four with two kids under 4 - savaged by the last budget!
259 Louise Martin single mum and a student, just about living on little money now they want to make it even less!
4849 Maria Colgan I am a single working mother of 5 children. My eldest son has special needs. I am tired of the cuts on the people who can't shout the loudest, at the shameful disgraceful bully boy tactics this Government is now using, they bail out the big boys, the buddies and the normal joe soap has to dance to their tune. Any march count my 5 children and myself in.
679 Annalee Nagura How else will we will survive, considering that both of us parents are unemployed and already living below the minimum amount required for a family of 4.
645 Yvonne Cheevers This money puts food on the table. My husband works full time I work part time this is what we live off. We have not had a holiday in 3 years. The child benefit buys clothes/shoes for our children, It also goes towards any activities they do outside of school - our children ages are 14, 10 and 4 as they are all at different stages of their lives, and needing different activities, to keep them fit, healthy and off the streets.
For more information contact Treasa 0851096399, Candi 0851289342 or Carol 0876753734