That was the reaction by Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance to yesterday’s Budget announcements.
An additional two weeks paid parental leave from November next year, minuscule cuts to the USC and families on the lowest incomes to benefit from changes to the Affordable Childcare Scheme.
Here’s a round-up of how Budget 19 will affect your pay and family.
- Entry level for higher rate of income tax increasing by €750 to €35,300.
- €502 increase in middle USC entry point.
- The third rate of USC to be cut from 4.75% to 4.5% (worth €205 p.a. to the average salary).
- The Home carer tax credit is to increase by €300 to €1,500
- The Earned Income Credit for self-employed is to increase by €200 to €1,350.
- The minimum wage is set to increase from January – from €9.55 to €9.80 per hour.
The additional €25 in the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance equates to a pair of shoes for a child
- The threshold for families to access the highest level of childcare support will be increased. Families earning less than €22,700 net were previously receiving the maximum subsidy, however, this will be increased to €26,000 net to help low-income households.
- An increase of €2.20 per week to the qualified child payment for under 12’s, and an increase of €5.20 a week for over 12’s.
- There will be a €20 increase in the earnings disregard for the One Parent Family Payment and Jobseekers’ Transitional scheme.
- Additional €25 in the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance
- Parents are to receive two weeks paid parental leave on top of existing allowances, under a new scheme starting in November 2019. The government said it hoped to increase this to seven weeks over time. It will reportedly be available to each parent but non-transferable, in that one parent cannot transfer their leave to the other.
- The Budget will provide an extra €196m for capital spending in education to create 18,000 new permanent school places, upgrade ICT and invest €150m in higher education.
- 950 special needs assistants recruited in 2019 as part of a €1.8bn fund for children with special needs.
- Christmas bonus to social welfare recipients to be restored to 100%.
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said: “Children and families on the breadline stand to gain in this Budget. In particular, we welcome the acknowledgement by Government that families with older children are struggling to make ends meet.”
Older children are more likely to experience poverty because it costs more to feed and clothe them.
“Older children are more likely to experience poverty because it costs more to feed and clothe them. Families in receipt of social welfare will receive an extra €5.20 a week (Qualified Child Increase – QCI) for children over 12. It is a small change but one that will have a big impact on these families.”
“The additional €25 in the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance equates to a pair of shoes for a child and will benefit over 150,000 families with some 275,000 children.”
Another measure welcomed by the organisation was the increase to income thresholds for the Affordable Childcare Scheme by the end of 2019.
The Government must now ensure that it can meet the extra demand so no child is turned away next September
Commenting on these measures, Tanya Ward said: “Families are crippled with the cost of childcare. The increase to income thresholds for the Affordable Childcare Scheme will mean that four out of five eligible families with children will benefit financially from the scheme. It also means that more families on the lowest incomes will benefit significantly as the threshold is increased from €22,000 net income per year to €26,000 net.”
“The Government must now ensure that it can meet the extra demand and invest in quality early years centres and supports for childminders so no child is turned away next September.”