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Child Benefit cut should be last straw – Government should resign – Ó Snodaigh

5 May, 2009 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin Equality spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has said that the threatened flat rate cut to Child Benefit would plunge families into deeper poverty and is a resigning matter for the Fianna Fáil/Green Government.

He said:

"We have known for some time that the Fianna Fáil/Green Government is going to introduce some form of cut in Child Benefit. Means testing and tax measures were floated but it now appears that a flat rate cut for all recipients is going to be imposed.

"Such a cut would hit the poorest families hardest and would plunge tens of thousands of people into deeper poverty. It will hit children and parents who have already been hit this year with loss of jobs and income levies for those who remain in work.

"Increases in Child Benefit during the Celtic Tiger years were introduced as a substitute for better childcare provision, especially for lower income families. Those families now face Child Benefit cuts but there has been very little improvement in childcare provision.

"The cutbacks to the child benefit will have no effect whatsoever on our economy. It is the Government's failure to react to the employment crisis which is exacerbating our fiscal crisis – not young families. If the Government had abolished the PRSI ceiling in the Special Budget these welfare cuts would not have been necessary. Instead the Government chose once again to target young families and the elderly.

"This is a resigning matter for the Fianna Fáil/Green Government - they have no mandate for such a savage cut. They deliberately kept the measure out of the April Budget to avoid an even worse pasting at the forthcoming Local Government and EU elections.

"I call on the Fianna Fáil/Green Government to resign." ENDS

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