"Families are keeping their heads just above water"
Parents of disadvantaged children and young people have called out the Government's 2023 budget.
Many families have praised the free primary school book scheme and an increase to social welfare payments, but many feel left behind by the Government.
Speaking about the disappointment felt by many families, Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance said;
“Framed as a ‘cost of living budget’, what we are seeing today is a suite of measures to help families keep their heads just above water. However, it fails to deliver enough effective targeted measures to help the most disadvantaged children and young people."
"We know that every child will benefit from this measure. But we particularly welcome the huge difference and certainty this secures for the disadvantaged children and families.”
The free primary school books scheme may help many families, but what about those with children in secondary school or college? What about the cost of uniforms, extracurricular activities and the 'contribution fee'?
The CRA praised the Government for increasing the Working Family Payment threshold by €40 a week and a once-off payment which will reach more families on low incomes.
"The QCI increases announced today bring the weekly payment to €42 for children under 12 and €50 for those over 12. However, this is only an additional €2 per week.
"This simply will not be enough to support children on the brink of poverty. It is far below what is needed to prevent more families falling into poverty.”
"It fails to deliver enough effective targeted measures to help the most disadvantaged children and young people"
Julie Ahern echoed Ward's concerns;
"The objective for this year’s budget was to help people through the challenges Ireland is currently facing. For that very reason, it is disappointing to see children and young people living in direct provision being left behind."
"The unequal treatment of these children and young people cannot continue. These families already receive the lowest social welfare payments in the State. They won’t get to experience the impact of the welcome increases in child benefit as they cannot avail of it."
The Government claims this year's budget will help those suffering from the cost of living crisis but have they done enough? Or are they just putting a plaster over an open wound?