Submission into the Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare

Barnardos. (2011). Submission into the Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare.
Barnardos welcomes the opportunity to feed into the deliberations of the Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare. Barnardos believes that any reform of child income supports should be equitable and redistributive. Budgetary decisions made by the previous Government have resulted in more children and families living in or on the edge of poverty. These families had little to begin with and are now trying to survive on even less. While Barnardos understands the current need for reform in order to meet the requirements of the EU/ IMF bailout, we strongly urge Government to ensure that any reform prioritises the protection of children in low income families. We must not move from one system that has failed to adequately protect children to another in the interest of saving money in the short-term. The long-term implications for such a move would be detrimental to individual children’s lives, Irish society as a whole and future State expenditure. To date, cuts across social protection, education and health have pushed more children into poverty and placed their well-being at risk. Any reform proposed must be mindful of these cuts and the impact they have had on vulnerable children. Barnardos firmly believes that any eradication of child poverty can only be achieved through a combination of adequate household income and access to quality public services, including childcare. While the focus of this Advisory Group is now purely on child income supports (predominately Child Benefit, Qualified Child Allowance and Family Income Supplement), its recommendations must be holistic in recognition of the fact that no child lives in isolation and that a myriad of responses and supports are required to tackle child poverty. In particular the value of prevention and early intervention policies and approaches should be considered given their long term effectiveness in addressing the intergenerational cycles of poverty and deprivation.