Dáil Éireann - Volume 526 - 21 November, 2000
Written Answers. - Child Support.
Mr. Broughan Mr. Broughan
347. Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the annual cost of doubling child benefit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26771/00]
Mr. D. Ahern Mr. D. Ahern
Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern): It is estimated that the full-year cost of doubling the monthly rate of child benefit for each qualifying child would amount to £571 million.
The value placed on the child benefit scheme by the Government is reflected in the level of resources invested in the scheme over the past number of years. The 1999 budget provided for a  full-year investment of over £40 million, while the most recent budget provides for a full-year investment of almost £106 million, bringing total investment in the scheme up to £575 million annually. Some 491,000 families with a total of 967,000 children benefited from these increases.
Additionally, the Government has made a commitment to substantially increase the child benefit payment over the period of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, with a priority focus towards £100 per month for third and subsequent children. From September last, the basic child benefit monthly rates were increased to £42.50 per month in respect of each of the first two children and £56 per month in respect of the third and subsequent children in line with this commitment.
It is my intention that the child benefit scheme will continue to be strengthened as a key instrument in tackling child poverty and targeting resources at those families most in financial need.
Question No. 348 taken with Question No. 308.
Dáil Éireann 526 Written Answers. Child Support.