Commitment to children comes through in Budget 2019

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Reacting to today’s Budget, the Children’s Rights Alliance recognises the clear commitment made to put children and families first. With these measures, there is a focus on the Government’s commitment to lift 100,000 children out of consistent poverty. We are a step closer to meeting this target with this Budget.

Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said: “Children and families on the breadline stand to gain in this Budget. The UK is sleepwalking into a hard-Brexit and children have the most to lose if we suffer an economic shock. The targeted measures announced today will mean that fewer children go to bed hungry or cold.

“In particular, we welcome the acknowledgement by Government that families with older children are struggling to make ends meet. Older children are more likely to experience poverty because it costs more to feed and clothe them. Families in receipt of social welfare will receive an extra €5.20 a week (Qualified Child Increase – QCI) for children over 12. It is a small change but one that will have a big impact on these families.

“We also acknowledge the increase in the QCI for children under 12, bringing the payment to €34 a week. The additional €25 in the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance equates to a pair of shoes for a child and will benefit over 150,000 families with some 275,000 children.”

Another measure welcomed by the organisation is the increase to income thresholds for the Affordable Childcare Scheme by the end of 2019. Commenting on these measures, Tanya Ward said: “Families are crippled with the cost of childcare. The increase to income thresholds for the Affordable Childcare Scheme will mean that four out of five eligible families with children will benefit financially from the scheme. It also means that more families on the lowest incomes will benefit significantly as the threshold is increased from €22,000 net income per year to €26,000 net. The Government must now ensure that it can meet the extra demand and invest in quality early years centres and supports for childminders so no child is turned away next September.”

Commenting further, Ms. Ward said: “Children in lone parent families have the highest levels of poverty. This Budget aims to support their parents by increasing the weekly income disregard by €20, making it easier for them to continue to work while receiving the same level of social welfare support. This could mean the difference between being able to afford a trip to the cinema or go to a friend’s birthday party – or not.

“We welcome an increase in the Direct Provision Allowance for children to €29.80 which implements the McMahon Report recommendation. Children in Direct Provision have told us about the shame of living in poverty; about never getting to go on a school trip or join their local hurling club. We cannot allow asylum seeking children fall further behind their peers in terms of child poverty so we hope to see the rate increase further down the line.

“We look forward to further detailed announcements by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs tomorrow to see how exactly these investments impact on the children and youth affairs sector as a whole.”

The Children’s Rights Alliance is currently analysing the impact of this Budget on children and families and will issue a detailed analysis tomorrow.

Region: 

Nationwide

Expiry date: 

16/10/18

Date Entered/Updated: 

09/10/18