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Niall Carson/PA Wire

Child benefit fears ahead of devastating Budget cuts

Brian Lenihan expected to set out the harshest budget in the country’s history this afternoon.

FINANCE MINSTER BRIAN Lenihan is expected to deliver the harshest budget in the history of the state in the Dáil today.

After last-minute negotiations with maverick independents Jackie Healy Rae and Michael Lowry, substantial welfare cuts and increases in taxes are likely to be passed with their backing.

The budget is the first step in the €15bn in cuts that will be imposed as part of the government’s four-year plan, under the watchful eyes of the IMF and the EU.

It is expected to:

  • cut welfare payments by about 5%.
  • reduce tax credits by 10% and a narrow some tax income bands.
  • slash €10 per month off child benefit payments for the first and second child and €20 for subsequent children.
  • increase excise on alcohol and cigarettes.
  • abolish some tax advantages enjoyed by pensioners, though the State pension is expected to remain untouched.

The St Vincent de Paul say they have offered counselling to their volunteers as they attempt to cope with the trauma of visiting families living in poverty.

You can figure out exactly how much the changes will cost you with our budget calculator.

Throughout the day we’ll be liveblogging, posting Twitter updates, calling the numbers in our Budget Bingo game and more.

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