Children's charities concerned at child benefit reforms

Fionnan Sheahan

CHILDREN’S charities are expressing strong concerns about proposals for reform to child benefit.

An expert report on child benefit recommends the Government can bring in a top-up payment for the less well-off, or else tax the payment.

The report says the two-tier model, with a basic payment and a top-up for low income families, would be "preferable".

But the report's authors insist the figures set out in the report, where the basic payment would begin to be cut off once the families income went above €25,000 is just an example and it would be up to the Government to set the rates.

The report suggested a €108 a month basic payment for everyone and a €153 top-up.

If the tax model was adopted, the monthly child benefit payment would drop from €130 to €104 for those taxed on the lower rate of 20pc and from €130 to €77 for those taxed at the higher rate of 41pc.

But the Society of St Vincent de Paul said the options proposed would "worsen the situation for struggling families".

And Barnardo's also said it would be "deeply concerning" if the Government only intention was to save money - rather than reforming the system to assist those on low incomes.

Read the full report here