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IFPA Chief Renews Criticism of Discriminatory Budget Impact on future parents will be devastating

By December 3, 1999News

– Release date: 03 December 1999

The IFPA's Chief Executive, Tony O'Brien, today strongly renewed his criticism of the discriminatory measures, contained in this week’s budget, which penalise single income couples and families and amount to a tax on full time parenthood.

Tony O'Brien commented today: "Government sources have mischievously tried to characterise criticism of this scheme as simple begrudgery. It is not enough to make snide suggestions that as everyone benefits in some way under the budget, single income families are just jealous of those who gained more than themselves. This is trite, simplistic and a cack handed attempt at spin doctoring. When single income families are placed at a substantial tax disadvantage compared with double income families, that amounts to a tax on full time parenthood."

Tip of Iceberg
He added: "This year's measures are just the tip of the iceberg. Full individualisation of tax bands over the next three years will leave single income couples and families up to £513 per month worse off than double income couples and families, just in taxation terms alone. Couples who have not yet even married, or contemplated marriage, will be severely effected by these measures. In the times we now live in it is obvious that young couples will be put to the pins of their collars in finding homes, paying mortgages and by the increasing costs of commuting and general living. It is absurd to think that at the time of planning to become parents, they will be in a position to give up the benefits of a second income and a tax loss of up to £513 a month.

"In such a situation couples may feel they simply cannot afford parenthood, or that they can have no choice in how they bring up any children they might choose to have. Parents should be entitled to choose how to bring up their children and this right should not be offered up as a sacrifice to the Celtic tiger, in an effort to coerce their parents to stay in the work force.

"These measures will hit prospective parents very hard indeed and could have a devastating effect on families with three or more children who simply could not afford full time childcare even if it were available or desired. This aspect of the budget is a direct attack on reproductive choice and is fundamentally at odds with the place of the family in Irish society."