Today’s announcement that the rate for the third and subsequent children are to be standardised makes a mockery of Labour’s ‘red line’ approach on child benefit reductions and the spin coming from Government Buildings in recent days, according to Fianna Fáil Children Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue TD.

 

Deputy McConalogue commented, “Only last February Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said “[Things] like not cutting child benefit any further. Enough is enough. Families can take no more,” were a fundamental prerequisite of entering into government with Fine Gael. Today, a Labour Minister has announced that the rate for Child Benefit for the third and subsequent children will be standardised over the next two years at €140. For a five child family this will mean a monthly loss of over €100. This is another critical blow to families struggling to make ends meet and is a breach of trust by the Labour Party.  It also flies in the face of the spin successfully sold to media over recent days.

 

Labour launched their pre-election manifesto on child care with a strong defence of child benefit declaring that it was against any cuts because

 

“- Family incomes have already taken a substantial hit in the last few budgets.

– It is the State’s only recognition that Ireland remains a very expensive place to raise a child.

– To do so will create poverty traps, work disincentives, & increase the number of children in poverty.”

 

Deputy McConalogue concluded, “All of that is still true, the only thing to change is the Labour position and a growing pile of broken promises on social welfare rates, fuel allowance, one parent families and hitting the most vulnerable. The Fianna Fáil pre-budget submission earmarked child benefit rates for protection, building on the major advances made in the area over the past decade.”