CUTTING child benefit by €10 a month will have “a devastating effect on families”, according to Fianna Fail’s Deputy Willie O’Dea.
Press leaks suggest that the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan will today announce as part of Budget 2013 that the payment is to be reduced to €130 per month.
“Let’s not forget that the full impact of the 2012 cuts to child benefit will only come into effect in January. Assuming the new cut will be for the first two children, a family with four children will now find themselves down €1,008 a year - €240 this year and €768 from last year’s cuts - compared to 2011. A recent survey by the Irish League of Credit Unions has revealed that 1.8 million families have less than €100 a month to spend after bills have been paid. A family with four children in this situation would be down to €80 a month. This could be the difference between clothing their children, having the heating turned on or eating three meals a day, stated Deputy O’Dea.”
Fianna Fail’s social protection spokesman reserved special criticism for the minister of that brief, Joan Burton.
“Time and time again, Minister Burton has promised not to touch core social welfare rates; this is a blatant row-back. I find it incredible that a Labour minister, whose election campaign was based largely on a pledge to fight any reduction in child benefit, would even consider such a proposal,” he said.
Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan rejected what she described as Fianna Fail “pot shots” over mooted welfare cuts. “Fianna Fail took €8 off basic social welfare rates and it can’t be forgotten that they are the ones who have got us into this situation where we have no choice but to reduce expenditure,” she said.