Children's Benefit payments represent some 10% of the Welfare budget. Amazingly until recently payments increased for each subsequent Child after the second Child.
Budget 2013 provides for a Child Benefit of €140 for the fourth and subsequent Child, with the first three children's benefit being reduced to €130 each
The reduction of the premium for subsequent children marks a change in attitude and policy.
Budget 2014 must again look to Children's Benefit to close the expenditure deficit.
There must be some case for paying each subsequent child less, as there must be some economy of scale with child bearing and rearing, in areas such as transport, housing, heating, entertainment, cooking, shopping, supervision, etc!
The premium for the fourth and subsequent child must imply that the basic payment of the first three children is insufficient.
Surely the Government will look to this obvious saving measure in Budget 2014. There will be a lot of guff about applying a means test for Children's Benefit in the coming year.
Ireland is one of the few Countries that does not apply a tax credit for Children. That is an argument in itself for a universal payment.