20% of Overall Budget Spent on Children Says Alliance with Majority Spent on Teacher Salaries and Pensions

Published date: 
2 Dec 2011

With only three days to go until Budget Day, the Children’s Rights Alliance has today announced its new Smart Budgeting initiative, which tracks Government spend on children, year on year.  Following detailed analysis of the current Budget (over €50 billion in total), the Alliance has today published its initial findings:

  •  Of the total Budget, €10 billion or 20% is core spend on children;
  •  Of the €10 billion spent on children:
    • over €6 billion is spent on education, with the majority spent on teachers’ salaries and pensions and then the day-to-day costs of running schools
    • over €3.5 billion is spent on social protection, which includes child benefit and support to one parent and low income families;
    • €400 million – only 4% – is spent on the activities of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs; and
    • €40 million is spent by the Department of Justice and Equality.

With only 4% of the Budget direct spend on children being used to support the work of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the Alliance is calling on Government to establish a Cabinet Subcommittee on Children, chaired by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, to ensure a coherent, outcomes focused approach to Government spending on children.

Senator Jillian van Turnhout, outgoing Chief Executive, says: “The Alliance has undertaken extensive and forensic analysis of the way in which the Budget is allocated and how children currently fare.  Ultimately, we want to assess whether the money we are spending as a country is having a positive impact on children’s lives.  This is an opportunity to open up a dialogue and ask ‘can we do better?’.  This is an important benchmark exercise that will hold our Government to account over the coming years.  Children make up 24.4% of the population – we’ll be assessing on Budget Day whether children and their families are safeguarded or disproportionately hit.”
Each year the Alliance undertakes work on the Budget process, through its pre-budget submission, which calls for certain measures to protect and support children’s rights; and through its post-budget analysis, which examines budget decisions and their impact on children.  From this year on, the Alliance will be deepening its focus on the Budget and, through in-depth research, will be tracking:

  • exactly how much of the annual Budget is spent on children;
  • where direct spend on children is allocated; and
  • how spend on children aligns with stated Government policy priorities.

Senator van Turnhout continues: “Children, as a life cycle group, do not ‘live’ in one Government department, but rather require coordinated, cohesive and effective working across a variety of departments and statutory agencies to deliver on shared nationally-agreed outcomes.  To make this work, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs must be able to hold other departments and statutory agencies to account on their progress in relation to nationally agreed outcomes for children.  The Department spends only 4% of the Budget direct spend on children, so it must have a mechanism to enable it to influence other actors.  A Cabinet Subcommittee on Children, chaired by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, should be established.”
For more information, please contact:
Carys Thomas, Communications Director
Children’s Rights Alliance
Tel: (01) 662 9400
Email: carys@childrensrights.ie

Notes to Editor:
1. Methodology: The annual Budget is divided into 43 votes, each one associated with a Government department, agency or specific programme of work.  The Alliance has examined each individual budget line, known as a ‘sub-head’, within each vote, and assessed its relevance to children.  The Alliance then grouped the sub-heads into the following categories:
·         Core spending on children
·         Spending directed towards children
·         Children as part of a minority group
·         Administration
·         Core funding for something not to do with children
·         Economic development and national progress
·         Support spending
2. Vote 40 on the Health Service Executive provides a breakdown of its budget by region and by specific programmes of work.  It is not possible from this information to determine the HSE’s core spend on children.  Hence, where applicable a percentage of this vote (24.4%) has been classified as ‘spending directed towards children’ given that children benefit from these services as members of society.  
3. Vote 38 on the Department of Social Protection does not provide a sub-head on Qualified Child Increase (QCI) as the payment is contained within the relevant adult payment.  The total figure for QCI in the 2011 Revised Estimates is €733,960,000.
4. Children make up 24.4% of the population using Census 2006 figures.  A comparative census figure for 2010 is not yet available.
5. The Alliance’s Pre-Budget Submission is here: http://bit.ly/qZcmgq

Children's Rights Alliance