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Policy issues concerning Children

Children are one of the most vulnerable groups in society.  Over 213,000 children in Ireland are at risk of poverty and over 414,000 of all children in Ireland are experiencing deprivation.  A further very concerning trend that has emerged in Ireland is the significant increase in the number of young people aged 18-24 who are at risk of poverty.  Since 2008 this figure has increased by 13 percentage points.

A new study shows that multiples of the national minimum wage are required if many households with children are to afford the full cost of formal childcare and simultaneously provide a Minimum Essential Standard of Living,.

Tackling poverty and income inequality effectively is a multifaceted task. It requires action on many fronts, ranging from healthcare and education to accommodation and employment. However, the most important requirement in tackling poverty is the provision of sufficient income to enable people to live life with dignity.  This forms a core element of Social Justice Ireland’s Policy Framework for a Just Ireland.

  1. The Government’s new child poverty target could be reached while child poverty continues to grow!
  2. No target set to reduce the numbers of ‘working poor’ - means major group continues to be ignored in practice.
  • Children should not have to pay for gambling losses of bankers and developers
  • Ireland can balance its budget without victimising children
  • IMF urged to propose fair and just solutions to Ireland’s problems

There is no justification for reducing Child Benefit. Below Social Justice Ireland outlines why Child Benefit should neither be reduced nor taxed in Budget 2012.
 
1. Child Benefit should not be reduced

The number of children at risk of poverty rose by more than 35,000 in two years between 2007 and 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available. The income of a household of four on social welfare is currently €80 a week below the poverty line. However, it is crucial to realise that child poverty cannot be addressed in isolation; it needs to be considered within the wider issue of household poverty.

Poverty in households with children is rising in nearly all OECD countries. Governments should ensure that family support policies protect the most vulnerable, according to the OECD’s first-ever report on family well-being.