“Over the last number of budgets it is really families with children who have been hit again and again very hard and this looks like another attack on the same group of people who really can’t take any more,” said SVP social policy development officer, CarolineFahey.
“We are saying leave the children’s allowance alone. That’s all we can say at the moment because we just don’t have any information on what is being proposed,” she said.
“How would low income families be protected? How would middle income families be protected? Until we see some concrete proposals beyond cut it we can’t say anything other than it cannot be cut.”
Ms Fahey said SVP was concerned about struggling families, whatever their background. “We know there are an awful lot more people struggling now than ever before,” she said.
SVP favoured a payment that would support all families with children, particularly targeted payments for those on the lower incomes, whether they are on social welfare or in low paid employment.
“Child benefit has been cut several times; social welfare has been reduced and low paid workers have been brought into the tax net,” she pointed out.
“Most of the households that we help are families with children so it is worrying for us. We know that a lot of them are worrying as well.”
SVP has asked for information on just how many high income earners are getting child benefit.
Ms Fahey said there were many middle income families struggling with huge outgoings because their financial circumstances had changed.
“We are very worried that those people will be hit as well as the people we are assisting — the people on the lowest incomes.”
Ms Fahey said the SVP had seen an awful lot of pressure put on families struggling to deal with ‘back to school time’ and now the Budget and Christmas was just around the corner.
“We have had an increase of over 80% in requests for help over the last three years.. “We are seeing an awful lot more people coming to us who are struggling with the basics.”