The cost of being a parent is rising, so an increase in child allowance is long overdue

This week’s call to link pension and social welfare payments to inflation in the upcoming budget immediately got me thinking – what about child allowances? Yes, there are flush parents out there who have no financial concerns, but the vast majority are against it, and the increase in child allowance in the next budget is long overdue.

The hen had my first child in 2008, in that budget the child allowance was raised from €6 to €166 for the first two children and from €8 to €203 for subsequent children.

Gone are the days when large families were given extra digging.

A flat rate was introduced in 2014, and the child allowance has hovered around €140 per child.

Since then, we have spent a lot on free pre-school ECCE scheme and free GP services for underprivileged children, but this should be seen as normal progress and not something that parents need to take care of their children. -Takes away from helping nutrition costs. ,

Because the costs are relentless, and no family should feel under constant stress because they can’t afford the basics.

I wrote an article last year complaining that there were no changes to child allowances in Budget 2022, and someone emailed me to ask: Why are there so many kids if I want someone else to be there for them? pay?

Well, I did not answer, but I would like to say to them – well, who will pay your pension, and do you know that the birth rate has declined by 20 pc between 2012 and 2020?

The argument, generally made by those who do not rely on child allowance to meet their needs, is that welfare should always be targeted and child allowance should be mean-tested.

But what about working parents, or single parents, who earn decent wages, but are by no means wealthy.

And anyway, child allowance is an acknowledgment that people with children need more money than those who don’t.

When it was first introduced in 1943 by Sean Lemas, its universal nature was significant as it recognized the right of the child to be provided. It is a safety net which means that no matter what happens, money is coming in regularly for your children’s needs.

We must consider that child allowance plays a role in making childbearing attractive.

Some countries, such as the UK, have moved towards the taxation of child benefit payments above certain thresholds, but this has caused a lot of administrative trouble; In any case, there are a lot of things parents are provided for that we don’t get – the NHS, a longer school day at the primary level and shorter holidays at the second level.

I mention these last two because extracurricular activities and keeping the kids busy in the summer can really dent families’ budgets if the parents are working.

With bills so high today, I think a lot of families are struggling despite looking good. Last week at the supermarket, a well-heeled lady in front of me found herself a few euros short and was embarrassed.

That could easily have been me, so I offered to tap the difference on my card. He refused and put some of the stuff back – apples and cheese. Hardly a luxury.

Research published in April by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) found that a quarter of people engaged in full-time employment are struggling to meet their cost of living, and this goes up to 40 percent of part-time workers.

That’s why I wasn’t shocked to read the latest results from the annual Barnardos Back-to-School Cost Survey last week. It found that only 28 percent of parents with children in primary school felt the cost would be manageable this year, with only one in five parents of secondary children (21 pc) feeling that way.

This is despite a €67m back-to-school package announced at the beginning of last month, which latches onto an additional €100 for each eligible child.

An additional €10 was added to this allowance in Budget 2022 – talk about getting the estimate horribly wrong for the first time.

Children’s charity questions 1,100 parents: Just under a quarter were in receipt of the government’s back-to-school allowance, meaning many who aren’t getting it are finding cost an issue And so it should probably claim it.

It’s because of research like this – and that knowing the reality of what life with kids is like and talking to other parents about the costs constantly can’t be avoided – I think child allowance is a great safety net. Which should be increased in the next budget to reflect the high prices parents are facing for parenting their children.

We must consider that child allowance plays a role in making childbearing attractive.

We need to address our falling birth rates: The child allowance is not a subsidy for having sex, as Michael O’Leary once declared, but an assurance about the future. If families feel they cannot afford children, they will have less than they want.

There is an uproar when pensions are touched, but it is unacceptable that the child allowance has not increased recently.

Countries like Germany are rightly accepting the high cost. In 2020, the child benefit was increased from €15 to €219 per month for the first and second child, €225 for the third child and €250 for the fourth child and above.

It feels like Ireland 20 years ago.

A few months ago, Taniste Leo Varadkar told the National Economic Dialogue that rising prices could go on for years, so it looks like life isn’t going to get easier for parents anytime soon.

Child allowance is already one of the biggest costs budgeted, but if we believe that corporate taxes will remain healthy, we should really give parents an extra boost. Give one extra tenor a month – it will make a difference.

I’m all for targeted measures, but almost everyone needs extra help today, and child allowances are a safe way to make sure kids don’t get lost when costs spiral.