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Child Benefit: €5 extra per child, per month for parents

Brendan Howlin sprung the surprise increase this afternoon.

Image: Shutterstock

Updated at 4.40pm

CHILD BENEFIT IS to be increased by €5 per child, bringing it to a monthly rate of €135.

The increase is a partial roll-back on a series of cuts to the payment since 2008 and represents a victory for Labour leader and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton.

Child benefit shrunk from €166 per child in 2008 to the current level of €130. It was not reduced in last year’s budget and remains one of the few remaining universal social welfare payments that is not means tested.

Child benefit is paid for every child up to 16 years of age and up to 18 if the child remains in full-time education. It is usually paid to the mother.

The increase will taxe effect from 1 January.

The increase to the payment was not widely flagged before it emerged early this afternoon.

Howlin also announced that the Government intended to bring in another €5 increase next year.

‘A chink of hope’ 

Reacting to the announcement, CEO of children’s charity Barnardos Fergus Finlay said the news offered a “chink of hope” for hard-pressed families.

“The increase of €5 for Child Benefit in Budget 2015, and a further additional €5 in Budget 2016, is particularly welcome as low income families have been disproportionately affected by the previous cuts,” Finlay said.

SIPTU President Jack O’Connor said the move, along with commitments to raise the living alone allowance and reinstate part of the Christmas Bonus for social welfare recipients, “will help to alleviate the living conditions of some of the most vulnerable in society”.

Follow all our Budget coverage here

LIVEBLOG: Budget 2015

Read: Families have seen monthly disposable income drop by €300 since 2008 >

Poll: Should child benefit be means-tested? >

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Rónán Duffy

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