Saturday 24 March 2018

Raising child benefit won't tackle real poverty problems

Brendan Keenan

Brendan Keenan

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.

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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