End child poverty by investing in services, not cutting taxes
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The Government has a responsibility to take steps towards ending child poverty in Budget 2017, and to do that it must forgo tax cuts and invest in public services, said Barnardos today. The children’s charity was outlining its top asks for Budget 2017.
Fergus Finlay, CEO, Barnardos, said, “Budget 2017 is the Government’s first chance to deliver on its pledge to create a ‘Fairer Ireland’ for all. 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. Investment in prevention and early intervention services is proven to help families before an issue develops into a crisis which is better for everyone involved – the child, the parents and the State. Such key services include family support, high quality early years services, a well-resourced Tusla, Child and Family Agency and comprehensive child and adolescent mental health services.
“It is a question of political priorities and long-term vision over short-term populist tax cuts.
“For example, a 1% 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.”
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. All families need support at some point so it is essential that Budget 2017 commits sufficient financial resources to ensure every child can access the supports they need, when they need it. This commitment would put an end to endless waiting lists and too-late interventions once and for all.”
Barnardos is calling for additional investment in five key areas of a child’s life:
- Child Welfare and Protection: €64m to ensure Tusla is adequately resourced
- Early years care and education: €142m for high quality, affordable childcare for all families
- Education: €103m to ensure primary education is truly free for all children
- Health: €150m to deliver 20 fully staffed primary care teams
- Housing: €150m to deliver 2,000 social housing units for families
Notes to Editor