Sunday 17 November 2019

No benefit in daft proposals

Proposals being prepared by the Government, under which wealthy parents will be able to hand back their child benefit payments to the State, plumb new depths of ludicrousness. The notion that any more than a handful of well-to-do parents will do so, at a time when the annual cost of child benefit is running at over €2bn, is quite patently absurd.

That such a daft proposal is even being seriously entertained demonstrates once again the unwillingness of our politicians to get serious about the question of child benefit.

With unemployment at record levels and the annual social welfare budget running at almost €21bn a year, we simply cannot afford a universal payment such as child benefit, which gobbles up over a tenth of all welfare spending.

What clearly needs to happen is some combination of means testing and taxing of child benefit.

By all means pay child benefit to those who need it, but scrap it for those who don't.

Until the Government is prepared to tackle the thorny issue of benefit reform, we will no doubt be bombarded with further idiotic proposals. Quite clearly August isn't called the silly season for nothing.

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