Sunday 4 December 2016

Raising child benefit won't tackle real poverty problems

Published 01/10/2015 | 02:30

ALWAYS expect the unexpected, the old advice runs. But what if the unexpected does not come? Always finding the expected is a very dull business.

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Hence the pleasure - the unexpected pleasure - in hearing Fergus Finlay, chief executive of the children's charity Barnardo's, arguing against an increase in child benefit in this month's Budget.

Instead, he said, the annual €70 million which a €5 increase will cost could do more good for children if spent on services for them. It was all done in the most civilised fashion, which also makes a nice change, but the real point was that here was an argument that was neither crude nor obvious - and that is unexpected.

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