The Government seems to be under the illusion that the child benefit payment is spent on luxuries but the reality is this payment goes towards ensuring children have their essential needs met.
This is the view of Labour councillor Neil McNelis, who is calling on the Government not to cut child benefit in next month’s Budget.
Cllr McNelis said any cuts to the payment “will not be accepted by the people of Galway city and county, especially as it is “more important now than ever” as families continue to “stretch increasingly limited resources”.
He said taxing or means testing this payment will only target those who need it most and he quoted Barnardos: “Child benefit is the only payment in Ireland that is specifically targeted at children and as such is an important indication of the value we place on childhood and society's recognition of the costs involved in rearing children.”
Cllr McNelis said: “The cost of child-care absorbs a huge chunk of a family’s income and we all know that hardly a week goes by when a school going child needs money for books, plays, exam papers. I would urge the Minister for Finance to revisit his decision to cut child benefit, a payment put in place in 1943 by Sean Lemass to be made to all families equally and not be means tested.”