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SVP chides Government over child benefit cut

By Sarah Mac Donald - 24 July, 2013

The Society of St Vincent de Paul has warned the Government that the loss of Child Benefit for children aged 18 who are still in full time second level education could result in lower completion rates for those from lower income families.

In letters sent to the Ministers for Social Protection and Education, the SVP stated, “As you are aware, the poverty rates of those who leave school without completing their Leaving Certificate and/or with low levels of educational attainment are stark.” 

The SVP request rethink by the Government on the cut on behalf of families in need and SVP members who are concerned that the cut will result in lower rates of educational progression among disadvantaged children and young people, as well as increased levels of stress and hardship for families.

The organisation highlights that many families are struggling to meet the costs of keeping their children in school and are therefore affected badly by any reduction in child benefit for children still in full-time education.

Children who may have started school late, or who may have been held back due to educational or developmental or health or family issues, but who have managed to overcome these challenges and are still in second level at the age of 18 now face this additional barrier to continuing their studies, according to the Society of St Vincent de Paul

The SVP has highlighted the issue in a video piece on Budget 2014. (See www.svp.ie/yourvoice) 

The video is based on the circumstances of one family who approached the SVP looking for help.

‘Jean’ talks about her family situation where her husband has lost his job, their struggle to keep their children fed and the psychological impact it is having. 

“I feel that I have aged 10 years due to the financial stress”, she says. 

The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) recently called on the public to support its campaign to end austerity budgets.

SVP National President, Geoff Meagher said, “The people we assist and those who are struggling throughout Ireland have suffered enough.”

“All people in Ireland deserve a living income in and out of work but the level of austerity imposed over the last six budgets has made this aspiration impossible for thousands of individuals and families.”

Geoff Meagher added, “We urge all those who want fairness and an end to austerity budgets to go online at www.svp.ie/yourvoice and make their voice heard.”

By Sarah Mac Donald

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