The leading advocate for children’s rights, charity Barnardo’s Ireland says Budget 2023 measures announced such as the extension of fuel allowance thresholds, electricity credit payments, double child benefit payments, and the once off €500 payment for recipient of the Working Family Payment will go some way to reducing anxieties and alleviating fears of those on low-incomes and their abilities to afford daily necessities.
However, they’ve expressed disappointment that social welfare increases will not match rates of inflation and in the medium and longer term will mean more families could struggle next year as their finances don’t stretch as far.
Additionally, the €2 increase to the Increase for a Qualified Child payment is wholly inadequate to cover increased costs for parents, they say.
The charity feels that more could have been done to look to the future and guarantee social welfare rates were benchmarked against inflation and the minimum essential standard of living measurement.
Suzanne Connolly, Barnardos CEO said: “We strongly welcome many of the measures introduced in Budget 2023 to help protect families this winter provide their children with essentials. They will go some way to reducing financial struggles families face and reduce some anxieties about whether or not there will be enough money for food, heat, electricity and clothing.
“In education the provision of free schoolbooks for primary school children from next year is a positive first step in providing truly free education within this country. Reductions in childcare fees is positive and will give parents more choice in the future about whether or not to go back to work.
“The government claimed Budget 2023 would focus on protecting families from cost of living increases. The measures announced today will go a considerable way to achieving that, better ensuring children will not go without absolute essentials. However, more could have been achieved by looking at the medium-term to better guarantee families are not pulled into deprivation in the future and that all children are entitled to minimum decent standard of living across the country.”