Dáil Éireann - Volume 688 - 09 July, 2009
Written Answers. - Child Support.
Deputy David Stanton Deputy David Stanton
Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the level of consistent and at risk of poverty levels respectively for children under 18 years; if research has been conducted by her Department on the effects of the reduction and subsequent removal of the early childcare supplement and the possible taxation of child benefit on poverty levels of children; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29539/09]
Deputy Mary Hanafin Deputy Mary Hanafin
Deputy Mary Hanafin: Policy matters in relation to the Early Childcare Supplement are a matter for the Minister for the Health and Children in the first instance.
The Department of Social and Family Affairs, through the social welfare system, provides significant support to families with children. Child Benefit is the main child income support payment.
Results from the most recent survey of Income and Living Conditions in Ireland (IRL-SILC) 2007 survey published in Dec 2008 showed the consistent poverty rate for children, aged 0-17, decreased from 10.3% in 2006 to 7.4% in 2007. The percentage of children ‘at risk of poverty’ fell by over two per cent, from 22.3% in 2006 to 19.9% in 2007. These are the most recent figures SILC figures available.
 Child income support payments have increased since 2007. More recently, a range of budgetary measures, effective from Jan 2009, costing over €56 million has been provided to benefit children and families with increases of between 3 % and 3.8 % in the basic payment rates.
However given the scale of the economic crisis, it is necessary to address all aspects of the public finances so as to a void excessive borrowing and to ensure that resources are targeted at those who need them most. It was in that context that the Minister for Finance announced in the Supplementary Budget the Government’s intention to either subject child benefit to income tax or means test it from 2010.
The Department of Finance, together with my Department and the Revenue Commissioners are considering the issues involved in both approaches. All issues, including the ones the Deputy has outlined, will form part of the overall consideration.
Questions Nos. 637 and 638 answered with Question No. 635.
Dáil Éireann 688 Written Answers. Child Support.