Big families are being punished for a crime they did not commit through punitive cuts to child benefit. By further reducing child benefit for the third and subsequent children, the Government is cutting child benefit, without 'cutting' child benefit. PACUB, the support group for families, condemns this conjuror's trick, which will hit larger families severely, when they are already at a greater risk of poverty.
“It seems that this change has been introduced to enable the Government to claim that child benefit rates have not been reduced - to fit in with election promises perhaps?,” says PACUB spokeswoman Niamh Kelly. “Once again promises to protect the most vulnerable are being trotted out and we wonder how different is this Government to the last one. Children are among the most vulnerable group in society and yet again they are being targeted. Not just through these cuts to child benefit, but also reductions in fuel allowances and one parent family payments, as well as extra charges for the health and education services that families use. I noted that the Government was claiming that an ageing population was adding an extra burden onto the health services. Well that is why we need more children Investing in our children is investing in our future, but this Budget will deter families from having more children as well as penalising those who do.”
Reducing child benefit for larger families is also contrary to the vision of Sean Lemass who originally introduced a universal allowance for the third and subsequent children in a family.