Thursday, 1 December 2011

Children's allowance to be cut by 10 Euro?

A few years back – I think I mentioned it before – I played bass guitar in a rather mediocre pub/wedding covers band. It was an interesting enough experience, in its way, and brought me to such glamorous venues as the Drake Inn (Finglas), Hartstown House (yup, Hartstown) and The Furry Bog in Whitechurch, Rathfarnham (and if you think that particular part of south Dublin is the epitome of faux middle-class respectability, I dare you to check out Whitechurch).

They were the rougher ones. Some smoother places were The Tram, near Guinness Brewery in town, and the Clonsilla Inn. Even Tramco, Rathmines, brim-packed with 500 semi-naked young ones – an awful distraction altogether – was graced with our dubious presence one Paddy's Night. But the more coveted gigs were to be found on a certain day every month, namely the one when the children’s allowance money came in.

There has been much moaning, groaning and gnashing of teeth lately with the rumours that said allowance might be cut by €10 a pop. And no wonder - that’s two pints of beer or a 20-pack of John Player Blue and a packet of peanuts. Parents have a right to be indignant when the "mickey money" is under threat - "mickey" being a quaint Hiberno-English colloquialism for "penis".

In times such as these, however - when we are looking at a 2% VAT increase, yet more taxes for the motorist in a country with a desperately inadequate public transport system, another raft of “green” taxes and all the rest – why shouldn’t a cut in children’s allowance be countenanced? Especially when it is questionable how much of it is actually spent on children?

Having experienced a childhood of Frank McCourt-style poverty myself, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else – but surely, in the present climate, is there not an argument for at least means-testing the children's allowance?  And maybe distributing it in such a way that the little brats themselves are the beneficiaries - by means of vouchers or something similar?

Or is this another Irish sacred cow that nobody can even question?

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Anonymous said...

Ah ... 'Means Testing' versus 'Universial benefits', there lies the crux yeah?.....

Dakota said...

GM, means test it? Give child vouchers to the parents? Cherish all the children the same? What do you think this is GM,A REPUBLIC?

John said...

Not all parents spend this money at the pub. Interesting that rates for childrens allowance in Germany.You get it as a rule until the children turn 18, though it can continue until they are 25 if they are still in school. You get €184 per month for each of the first two children, €190 for the third child and €215 for each subsequent one. In this Irish case study for child poverty from 2007, the last of the boom years we had
The at-risk-of-poverty rate for children Ireland in 2007 at 19.3%.
Will that improve by cutting the allowance?

Ella said...

Hi GM, I know my mum did buy things like shoes and stuff for us when she got the childrens' allowance. I don't have kids myself, (lifestyle choice), but I can't help feeling somewhere that if you choose to have kids you can't expect everybody else to pay for them.... I suppose a happy medium is means tested. Or better still provide decent pre-school care and reduce it dramatically. That's why it's about eur 11 a month in countries like Poland. I think that's a good system.
The link is just to show I didn't imagine eur 11 per month!

Anonymous said...

Introduce a new rate of 100euros per child starting on a specific date for all new applicants. Only give this for the first two kids, after that, nothing. Make contraception more easily and widely available, and reduce the prices considerably. Gradually reduce those on the present payments to the 100euro. About time that abortion was legalised here as well.

Why should taxpayers have their money spent supporting other peoples kids? Having children is a career choice for certain sections of society. The taxpayer provides an income, a house, furnishings, healthcare and other supports. If she has more kids, a larger house is provided.

Of course this is Ireland, everything is warped by the twisted interference of the church, vested interests, gobshites and do gooder busy bodies. What a kip.

John said...

If we do not have children who will pay for our future pensions?
You cannot feed and cloth a child on the money you get but it helps.
We have to decide are we a society that cares or one that practices the Margaret Thachter margaret thatcher philosophy i.e, there is no such thing as society?

The Gombeen Man said...

Thanks for the comments so far, all - and the links Ella, John.

I suppose there is an argument - albeit a populist one - that might question why affluent kids of, say, the Smurfits should get child benefit automatically? Maybe a bit like free third-level?

I wonder should it be more focused, along with other measures to (really) erase disadvantage (an overhaul of the education system, for instance?).

And sure, when society breaks down we all get to know for sure that it does exist... as I think old Maggots found out herself.

And if ever there was an example of someone blinded by an ideology, it was that lady. I'm more a pick and mix sort, myself!

Dakota said...

Say what you want about Maggie, in power, what you saw was what you got. The polar opposite to what came after her, especially on this island.

As for reforming the system to produce a fairer society? There was some chance during the inflated housing bubble known as the celtic tiger, but not anymore.

You have government (at the behest of the troika) whos mo is to tax and cut it's way out of recession. A recession fundamentally based on consumer sentiment (it's the monster the man and woman on the street created) and they think by taking more money out of peoples pockets it will encourage these same peeps to spend. Irish logic. There are 450,000 individuals unemployed, does anybody seriously think they will all find work at checkouts or in the smart economy? At least 200,000 of these are construction workers. Sanity would dictate that a booming export market coupled with a triving consumer market - based on a return to a normalised housing market where prices go up and not down, will allow the nation to get out of this disaster. But GM as you mentioned before most notably with that despicable stealth tax, VRT, positive imagination is a no go area for Erin. Successive administrations on this island had a laughable attitude to taxation! Nobody gives a fiddlers either way....If the Irish safety valve was not there, we would have an unemploment rate which would make Spains look positively angelic. YOU CANNOT TAX YOUR WAY OUT OF A RECESSION. This is Ireland, the nice ministers say they are not increasing INCOME TAX, so therefore he is not increasing TAX, hey presto, problem solved. Another Irish answer to another Irish problem. OHHH the genius of the Irish!

The mess is multi-layered at the political level, at the moment it's based on mis-guided and opine priciples that a blind man on a galloping donkey can see will only make things worse.

Alas unfortunately, GM, Ireland ink is nothing more than a conglomeration of individuals who cannot cohese into a credible movement. What you get instead is a population with profound insecurity and self-consciousness issues. A populace who essentially mis-direct their aggression. All fine and happy until the next generation inherits the wirlwind. But by then the cultural cues are so infused they won't know the difference anyway. A contented medium, wouldn't you say? Ah yes GM, Ireland is the sow and the children are the farrow.

The Gombeen Man said...

That's true, Dakota. Thatcher was, at least, WYSIWYG.

Appropriate to finish off with a quote from a true Irish genius, and giant of English literature, who had to flee the place in order to write. And whose works were censored by the Irish State!

Anonymous said...

State pensions should be paid out pro-rata based on the number of kids you have, assuming they will be paying taxes at some point. Those without kids should be disposed of before they become a burden.

Dakota said...

Anonymous @ 23:54.....Classic, pandoras box was really opened during the 1990s wasn't it? You wouldn't be part of the Irish hegemony by the way? ;) Soylent Green comes to mind.....The level of what's exceptable is being lowered all the time, perception is the new reality.