Delay tax cuts and invest in child services - Barnardos

Child poverty agency calls for retention of USC rates

28th September, 2016
A child begs on O'Connell Bridge in Dublin, cradling an infant in her arms. Pic:

Child advocacy agency Barnardos has called on the government to move towards ending child poverty by postponing tax cuts.

The government must instead invest in child services, according to its chief executive Fergus Finlay. The children’s charity was outlining its top asks for Budget 2017.

“Budget 2017 is the government’s first chance to deliver on its pledge to create a ‘Fairer Ireland’ for all," Finlay said. "That one in nine children live in consistent poverty is a national scandal. We can only deliver a ‘Fairer Ireland’ if we ensure every child has a safe and stable home and never has to go hungry.

“Child poverty can be reduced by delivering on the programme for government pledge to prioritise investment in services providing prevention and early intervention supports. For example, a one per cent cut in USC would cost the state over €300 million and mean just €3 extra per week in people’s pockets – the price of a cup of coffee."

"For the same money the government could introduce a subsidised system of childcare, deliver 2,000 social housing units and provide free school books and classroom resources for all children.”

As reported in this week's Sunday Business Post, the government is planning a 0.5 per cent cut in the two lowest rates of USC as part of Budget 17. Our story was confirmed after yesterday's cabinet meeting when Minister for Finance Michael Noonan acknowledged that the cuts are on the table.

June Tinsley, head of advocacy, said: “Barnardos worked with more than 13,000 children last year. We know that as childhood is time limited, timely interventions and supports are crucial to improving their life chances.”

Barnardos is calling for investment in five key areas of a child’s life:

- Child Welfare and Protection: €64 million to ensure Tusla is adequately resourced

- Early years care and education: €142 million for high quality, affordable childcare for all families

- Education: €103 million to ensure primary education is truly free for all children

- Health: €150 million to deliver 20 fully-staffed primary care teams

- Housing: €150 million to deliver 2,000 social housing units for families

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