Tuesday 21 November 2017

Leo Varadkar: Child benefit won't be means tested

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar Photo: Caroline Quinn
Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar Photo: Caroline Quinn

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

SOCIAL Protection Minister Leo Varadkar has ruled out means testing child benefit.

Mr Varadkar today described the payment as "universal", adding "that's the way it's goingLeo  to stay."

The Dublin West TD said the Government could potentially tax child benefit but that it is vehemently opposed to doing so.

"We don't think its a good idea...Child benefit is a universal benefit paid to all children," he told RTÉ's 'Today with Seán O'Rourke'.

Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar confirmed that plans to increase rent supplement by 15pc will come into force by July at latest.

The measure was strongly argued for by Fianna Fáil during the Government formation talks.

Mr Varadkar warned, however, that the move will not lead to a increase in homes.

On the issue of pensions, Mr Varadkar said he would like to establish an auto-enrollment scheme which people could opt out of. He described the scheme as a "personal future fund" and said it is in operation in other EU countries such as the UK.

Meanwhile, the minister also said that he was not given a choice by Taoiseach Enda Kenny when appointed to the Department of Social  Protection. The admission comes as Housing Minister Simon Coveney said he was given a choice of departments.

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