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thinking ahead

Child benefit could be increased by even more than a fiver in Budget 2016

A small increase in child benefit was announced as part of the Budget yesterday.

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THE EXPECTED INCREASE in child benefit in the next budget could be even greater than currently planned, Brendan Howlin hinted yesterday.

The government announced plans to increase the welfare payment by €5 per child ringing increasing the monthly rate to €135 from the beginning of next year with plans, if circumstances allow, to increase it by another €5 in 2016.

But speaking to at Leinster House last night, Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Howlin suggested that the increase in Budget 2016 could be even greater.

He said: “We have indicated that if resources allow, and I expect they will, we will certainly supplement the €5 [this year] with another €5 next year.

“But who knows, maybe things will improve even more dramatically than we have envisaged in the course of the next few months.”

The increase announced yesterday is a partial roll-back on a series of cuts to the payment since 2008 and represents a victory for the Labour party in particular and its Tánaiste 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.

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

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