Budget 2015 is the fourth budget delivered by the Fine Gael/Labour Coalition Government. The Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD, described the aim of Budget 2015 as “securing the recovery, building for the future and broadening it to families across the country” and of the intention to “secure a new economy for a new Ireland”. Budget 2015 provides some breathing space to children and families by maintaining social welfare rates at current levels, tax reform, an increase to Child Benefit, further investment in the Child and Family Agency and a new Back to Work Family Dividend.
However, Budget 2015 did not reverse the cumulative effect on children of the past seven budgets, nor did it address the impact of the recession on take-home pay, emigration, personal debt and stress. To really lift families out of poverty, Budget 2016 will have to adopt a more aggressive multi-faceted strategy. The Government must develop a cross departmental implementation plan to achieve the Child Poverty Target and allocate necessary resources.
Read our Budget 2015 press release.
Key Positives of Budget 2015
- No new cuts to social welfare rates, income supports or services
- Low income individuals are exempt from the Universal Social Charge
- €26 million for the Child and Family Agency (TUSLA)
- €5 per month increase on the Child Benefit payment
- New Back to Work Family Dividend
- Partial reinstatement of the Christmas Bonus
- €2 million for School Meals Programme
- 1,700 new teachers and Special Educational Needs
- Continued investment in the education Reform Agenda
- Increased allocation for health and mental health services
- Over €20 million for the National Children Detention Facility
- Increased investment in housing
- Price increases to discourage smoking
Key Negatives of Budget 2015
- Positives offset by water charges and rising rents
- Pledged mental health budget not restored
- Reduction in the capitation for Schools
- No increase in the excise duty on alcohol