Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection, Willie O’Dea TD, says children need to be valued and protected and should not be targeted in any proposed changes to Child Benefit payments.
Deputy O’Dea was responding to the First Report of the Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare, which has recommended introducing a two-tier Child Benefit system, with a top-up for lower income families.
“We must value all children equally and they should not be targeted for any further cuts. The Government has refused to introduce a fairer taxation system based on income and the result is struggling families being hit further.
“These proposals will cause fear and anxiety for middle income families, who have been squeezed from all angles. The regressive nature of the past two budgets as well as these proposals will do nothing to ease the burden on these families who are already struggling to pay essential bills. By cutting the standard rate of Child Benefit again, it is the squeezed middle that will lose out.
“The two-tier system that the report favours is hugely complicated and would be an administrative quagmire. We have seen with the student grants (SUSI) debacle that the Government was remarkably ill equipped to deal with this system. The administration of the proposed two-tier Child Benefit system would be even more complicated.
“If higher income families are to be asked to make a greater contribution, it should be through a fair, open and transparent taxation system which looks at the wealth of the parents, not the children.”