Tuesday 23 January 2018

Editorial: There must be a way to means-test child benefit

Picture posed: Thinkstock
Picture posed: Thinkstock

WE HAVE many strengths as a people – but an ability to order our own affairs is not always top of the national achievements list. Success with simple administrative tasks at times appears to elude us. There are serious doubts about the accuracy of the voters' register; our efforts to introduce electronic voting was nothing short of lamentable.

At times it appears our political leaders and senior administrators adopt a fatalistic attitude instead of facing up to these shortcomings, learning how our neighbours manage and emulating them. The idea of means-testing child benefit is a prime example.

Among the findings of the Irish Independent/Millward Brown survey today is that two out of three people favour paying more in child benefit to those most in need, and paying less, or perhaps even nothing, to better-off families. But every time this idea is mooted we are treated to a litany of problems and difficulties.

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