Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children & Youth Affairs Anne Rabbitte has hit out at the government spin machine which has again this morning caused major concern and frustration for parents, following leaks about possible plans to cut child benefit for higher earners.

The reports claim that households, which earn more than €100,000, could be targeted for means testing so that funds could be re-directed towards childcare provision.  However, speaking on RTE, Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty appeared to rubbish the reported proposals, saying that it was her intention to examine the findings of a 2012 report from the Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare.

Deputy Rabbitte commented, “Once again we see this government’s obsession with spin come to the fore.  On the one hand we have a proposal being floated in the papers and only hours later we have the Minister dampening down those same proposals.  This is leading to confusion, frustration and anger amongst parents, particularly those middle income earners who would be earmarked for means-testing if this proposal were to come to fruition.

“Ministers Doherty and Zappone need to stop acting like commentators and realise that they are in charge and have the power to implement real change, if indeed that is what they want to do.  Middle income families are already bearing the brunt of unreasonably high childcare costs and should not be penalised further.

“Childcare costs have fallen down this government’s agenda and parents are being let down by the lack of action on this issue.  We need to see a concrete plan brought forward that lowers childcare costs and eases the pressure on already overburdened families”.

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