October 11, 2023
Budget 2024 not the promised ‘children’s budget’ – Kathleen Funchion TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Children, Kathleen Funchion TD, has responded to Budget 2024 welcoming some measures to address children’s needs, but has seriously questioned the number of short-term measures that won’t provide the needed long-term stability for hard-pressed families.

Teachta Funchion said:

“The once-off payments to child benefit, back-to-school allowance and working family payment, will have a short-lived impact for families already struggling. Conversely, increases to the qualified child allowance are completely inadequate to break the cycle of poverty.

“Whilst I acknowledge and welcome the Minister for Children’s commitment to reduce childcare fees by 25%, the rationale in forcing families to wait eleven months for any reduction is baffling. 

“There are some measures such as extended free schools books to junior cycle and expansion of AIM are welcome, the level of short-termism in this budget that will adversely impact children and their long-term welfare.

“It’s disappointing no future commitments were given to further reduce childcare fees. I just last week announced Sinn Féin’s proposed substantial investment of €201.7 million to reduce childcare fees by over half, starting in January 2024 with an initial reduction, followed by a further reduction in September 2024.

“Families need this support now, not in eleven months.

“€121 million was invested in 2023 for a 25% reduction and this budget has given an additional €41m for a further 25% reduction, however this doesn’t seem to add up, I will certainly take time now to look more closely at the Minister’s figures.

“In reality families are facing a .74c increase to the universal rate of NCS which will barely make a dent in the costs faced by parents.  

“I know there are families throughout the state that will be deeply disappointed in how little was invested and how long they will have to wait. As the cost-of-living crisis continues to cripple families.”

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