Friday 6 December 2019

Time to means test child benefit

AS the final touches are being put to Budget 2011, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan could do worse than look across the Irish Sea for cost-cutting ideas.

The Tory-Lib Dem government’s proposal to means test child benefit is a welcome development and one that should be considered here. Many families are able to put aside what they receive in child benefit into a savings fund for their loved one or ones.

Is this really what this ‘welfare’ payment should be about, especially in such straitened times? On the other side of the scale, some parents, who in other circumstances would not be able to afford to have even one child, are deciding to have large families in order to reap as many rewards as possible from our over-generous social welfare.

Until changes are made to this area, such playing of the system will continue. It should come down to basic rights and responsibilities. While everybody has the right to have children, the primary responsibility to look after them rests with the parent/parents.

Nobody else. Expecting generous assistance from the State in what is effectively a personal choice is misguided. Many other developed nations offer child benefit only in exceptional circumstances. It’s time we followed suit.



BRENDAN CORRIGAN

BELFAST

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