Immediate Release: Tuesday 07 December 2010
Alliance Response to Budget 2011
The Children’s Rights Alliance is deeply disappointed by the announcement in today’s Budget that the Child Benefit payment is to be cut for each child by €10, with a double cut of €20 on families with three children. These cuts will have an immediate and a long term negative impact on children. Every family in the country will be affected; with those from low income families worst hit. Child Benefit is the only universal payment to children in this country. It is a significant support to families in covering the costs associated with raising their children.
Today’s €10 – and in some cases €20 – cut, per child to Child Benefit is on top of last year’s cut of €16 and will push more children into poverty. In 2009, 1 child in every 11 was living in poverty, this marked an increase of 38% on 2008. Unfortunately, it is now certain that child poverty will rise again in the coming year. Of particular concern is that the Budget failed to protect the poorest children (those families receive QCI or FIS) by not introducing a compensating measure to offset the cuts in Child Benefit. The additional cut of €20 to families with 3 children will impact on one in four (101,454) families across the country. According to the ESRI large families are more likely to experience poverty and are more likely to find it difficult to move out of poverty.
In the bigger scheme of things the savings made on Child Benefit are minor: the Government chose to commit an estimated €100 million to build a bypass for Tralee town, in a compensatory measure to Jackie Healy-Rae, TD. If the Government had made a different decision, families across Ireland could have been spared the €10 cut to Child Benefit.
Jillian van Turnhout, Chief Executive, Children’s Rights Alliance said “The Alliance acknowledges that we are country in crisis and we must all pay the price for past mistakes. However, children will pay the biggest price with cuts to Child Benefit, social welfare, education and health. Cuts in today’s budget coupled with those outlined in the Four Year Plan will have a long term effect on children as they grow up. Many families, through no fault of their own, will be faced with the stark reality of living in poverty and the knock on effects that this has on the household will be harshly felt by children. Children deserve to be protected, nourished and educated and as we look to the future it will be the duty of today’s children to rebuild our nation.”
The Alliance warmly welcomes the allocation of €3 million to hold a referendum on the rights of the child in 2011. In addition, we welcome the retention of the free pre-school year; and the allocation of €9 million to the HSE to support the continued delivery of the Ryan Report Implementation Plan.
The Minister for Finance’s speech today only gave a snapshot of the Budget’s impact on our children’s futures. To ensure additional budgetary measures affecting children are not lost in the debate on banks and billions, the Alliance will tomorrow (Wednesday 8 December) issue a comprehensive analysis of the impact of Budget 2011 on children. This analysis will include a thorough examination of the Budget’s ‘small print’ and will incorporate all measures in the supplementary departmental budgets (to be released this evening), affecting children and their welfare. This analysis will be issued to all media and will be available for download from www.childrensrights.ie
CONTACT DETAILS FOR MEDIA QUERIES:
Róisín Fitzgerald – Communications Officer - Children’s Rights Alliance – 087 7702845
Jillian van Turnhout, Chief Executive is available for comment
Notes to Editor:
The Children’s Rights Alliance is a coalition of over 90 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working to secure the rights and needs of children in Ireland, by campaigning for the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It aims to improve the lives of all children under 18, through securing the necessary changes in Ireland’s laws, policies and services.
8.7%, one in 11 children were living in consistent poverty in 2009; the figure was 6.3% in 2008. Children are the group most exposed to consistent poverty. Source: CSO EU Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) 2009 http://www.cso.ie/releasespublications/documents/silc/current/silc.pdf