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'Children must not be made pay for our errors'

CHILDREN will be forced to pay for our economic mistakes if family benefits are slashed in the Budget, it has been warned.

For many families the child benefit payments were the only state supports they received to help buy clothing and cover childcare, the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) said.

NWCI director Orla O'Connor appealed to the Government not to cut child benefit. "It is the best way to ensure no child falls out of the loop."

Her plea came as it emerged next week's Budget will likely result in a €10-a-month cut from €140 to €130.

Niamh Ui Cheallaigh, a spokeswoman for the campaigning group Protest Against Cuts to Child Benefit (PACUB), said even the current benefit rates did not cover the cost of raising children.

"I cannot understand why the Government is so intent on making children pay for a problem they did not cause; you would think that children were the cause of this recession," Ms Ui Cheallaigh said.

The latest figures dated to 2010 show 8pc of children were living in consistent poverty – meaning they were missing out on the basics such as hot meals or warm clothes.

The NWCI warned that child benefit had already suffered cuts and was no longer paid for those who were 18 years old and in full-time education.

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