Burton: Tax higher earners in respect of their child benefit
on 19/10/2012 12:31:03
Meanwhile a cabinet colleague appears to be suggesting that means testing child benefit would be too expensive.
A new opinion poll for the Irish Times shows that nearly three quarters of voters would support means testing child benefit.
The future of the universal payment is expected to be central to budget discussions, and form at least part of the half a billion in cuts needed at Social Protection.
Speaking at the launch of a new referendum app on the Fine Gael Facebook Page, Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald was predicting a problem:
"Means testing is very expensive to implement and very it is hard to get it right. It's very interesting to see that people believe child benefit should be directed at those who need it most."
The minister who will have to make a decision is throwing another option into the mix.
In Limerick, Joan Burton says a tax on the benefit for wealthy people is an option: "Another way to approach this would be to tax higher earners in respect of their child benefit. That's not possible in terms of our system at the moment but can be worked on."
Realistically though neither a tax nor means testing will be possible in time for the budget, and if child benefit is to deliver savings it'll probably be in a cut across the board.