Barnardos Children’s Budget 2012
Barnardos. (2011). Barnardos Children’s Budget 2012. https://knowledge.barnardos.ie/handle/20.500.13085/1007
Barnardos knows that the recession is having a serious impact on many children across Ireland. Recent cuts to social welfare rates, reduced working hours and increased taxes have all meant more families struggling to survive on less; less income and fewer support services in health and education. Already over 90,000 children in Ireland are living in consistent poverty, but Barnardos knows that many more are at risk. For many children this means living on poorer diets, missing their developmental milestones, suffering from more ill-health, struggling in school and increasing isolation because they are unable to participate in many activities such as going to friend’s parties, swimming and other social activities. The short-sighted savings of successive budgets are jeopardising children’s futures. Childhood is time limited; the impact of poverty is difficult to reverse and has longer lasting and more damaging effects on children than on adults. It is fundamentally unjust to ask children to shoulder any more of the burden for the economic crisis, especially those living in low income families who have no more to give. There has been much discussion about the opportunity provided by the recession to “do more with less”, to be innovative and imaginative in our approach to finding solutions to the chaos the recession has created. This does not, as yet, appear to have been applied to the way we deliver public services. With the exception of ambitious and welcome plans to restructure services for children and families, there have been few debates or innovative suggestions about how we might change our overall approach to public services. We need new systems for the 21st Century; services that are responsive, flexible and tailored to properly meet the needs of the people they serve. Barnardos believes that Budget 2012 should continue the process of change which began with the General Election 2011. Budget 2012 provides an opportunity for this Government to stand by the principles set out in the Programme for Government and make good on promises to protect the most vulnerable. Budget 2012 is about choices. Savings must be made but they cannot be made at the expense of children and families whose lives are already being made unbearably difficult by poverty and disadvantage. Budget 2012 must be about investing in Ireland’s most valuable assets: our children.