Thursday, October 11, 2012

HANDS OFF MY CHILDREN'S ALLOWANCE

There were TEN in the bed and the little one said: "Oi, get your hands off our money!"

Ten mums who represent Irish Parenting Bloggers have launched a campaign to tell the Government how hacked off we are at the miserable suggestion that child benefit is to be cut in the next budget. So in response, we’re staging a...
#BlogMarch!



We have taken turns to publish one blog post each day over ten days to appeal to the Government to ditch this far-reaching strategy or face the wrath of mums across Ireland. You ain't see nothing yet until you've pissed off a cacophony of mums Enda!

Today is my turn to post:

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When I had my first child five years ago I remember thinking "Yay €150 a month in child benefit". Quid's in!

We weren't strapped for cash at the time and babies are very cheap apart from nappies so we were able to put it all straight into a savings account and even imagined that by the time our wee fella went to college he would have €32,500 in his savings. 

Fantastic! 

Er, not quite.

Fast forward five years and there's very little of it saved. The €140 a month, as it is now, has been swallowed up by our rising living costs. We have two more kids now - I'm an unwaged full time mum of 3 - my husband kills himself trying to cover our living costs yet we always end up using the credit card at the end of the month. Life here in Ireland is very expensive.

SO here's a message for the Ministers thinking of taking away our last remaining lifeline... Kids cost a fortune. 

The hidden cost of kids include: 
Food
Shoes
School books & photocopying charges
Voluntary contributions to schools/playschools
School uniforms/bag/lunchbox (€100 a year per child)
Birthdays 
Other kids bday parties' presents (necessary evil)
Clothes
Entertainment (DVDs, toys, day trips)
Doctors and dentist charges
Prescription charges
Christmas
After school activities (free in UK schools)
Swimming lessons (free in UK schools)

I know this is nothing compared to what it will cost to run kids when they're all at school. Because running kids is like running banks. They're unpredictable, hot-headed, they spend all your money and they never say thanks. If the banks got Government money, then why can't kids? 




Here's the thing, as the little people get older, that's when they drain you of money. I've noticed we have a lot less money now than a few years ago. I've noticed that I'm now using the child benefit every month to cover our bills, rather than saving it. I've noticed that money is the tightest it's ever been. 

So the idea by the Government to slowly take away our child benefit is a travesty that will bleed us dry. 


In the UK where I grew up, schools are paid for by the Government - parents don't have to fork out hundreds every year for photocopying or books like here. I only have one child in school so far - so thankfully we only had to pay a modest €310 this year. I dread to think what I'll be forced to pay when all 3 of them are in school - and child benefit is slashed back to 1980s levels.

Granted, the child benefit in the UK is lower, but healthcare there is totally free for kids. Here it's adult prices if a kid needs to go to doctor (€50 a visit) or dentist - and the cost of prescriptions are bonkers. 

Luckily, I've never had to take any of my kids to hospital but I fear the hidden cost of illness and accidents.


Furthermore, the cost of living here is
exorbitant. Car tax anyone? In the UK, I was paying £100 a year on my car tax, over here the same car somehow cost €390 to tax.

Food is so much more expensive. We only have little eaters at the moment, but somehow we are spending at least €120 a week on food. We don't have takeaways or treats and I never throw anything away. 





I don't buy clothes for myself - I hosted a swap party the other night for friends. We swapped all our old clothes and I got my wardrobe for the next 6 months sorted. It's the only way to "shop" when money is tight. Most of the kids clothes and the baby paraphernalia are hand-me-downs.

We don't even go to the hairdressers. I've learned to cut everyone's hair and I get my mum or my sister-in-law to cut my hair.

As far as I'm concerned, child benefit is not actually child benefit. Because that would imply a gift, something the government is doing as a favour to us. Is that why they changed the name a few years ago, from the Children's Allowance? 

No, the Children's Allowance is our God given right as parents to children who are this country's future. I moved here after I married an Irish man, we chose to live here in east Cork because we love it so much but we live in a small end-terrace that will never again reach the amount it was bought for 6 years ago.

I look enviously at other families who live in big houses with big gardens and think how much happier we would be as a family if we had more space - how the screaming wouldn't bother me so much if I could escape to another room downstairs. But we can't move. It's too expensive. 









Since I've lived here I've had 3 children. Three little Irish children with Irish passports that will one day contribute greatly to the economy, because Mr Enda Kenny, I'm raising captains of industry, athletes that will win Gold medals for Ireland and musicians that will blow Bono out of the stadium. 

There is very little joy in this country at the moment. Very little hope for the future. The kids are our future, so don't destroy their chance to keep their heads above water. 

Because if these cuts to child benefit happen, you're taking away every basic entitlement a child has. 

And you're going to piss off a lot of mums. 

And yes, it is true, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.





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Please check out the previous and the next posts...

Day 1: The Irish Rhymes - Child Benefit Stole My Child’s Allowance

Day 2: The Clothesline – Stuck in the Middle – No to Child Benefit Cuts

Day 3: Mind The Baby - Leave Child Benefit Alone

Day 4: Dreaming Aloud - Down to the Bare Bones - Cutting (the fat of) Child Benefit


Day 5: The Daily Muttering

Day 6: Kate Take 5

Day 7: Wholesome Ireland

Day 8: Ouch My Fanny Hurts

Day 9: Wonderful Wagon

Day 10: Mama.ie

The BlogMarch continues tomorrow at Kate Takes 5

10 posts over 10 days from 10 members of The Irish Parenting Bloggers group. Follow us on Facebook.

If you’d like to lend your support, you can sign the online petition here.

You can also share your thoughts with us on Twitter at #BlogMarch.















2 comments:

Dreamingaloudnet said...

Hahaha! Super Amy! We are totally with you with the figures. Except our car tax is €650 a year. I think perhaps the government might be trying to scare all of us " back to where we came from" so other countries can foot the bill of our mangy ( Irish) kids, who can then come back fully grown, when times are good, with romantic notions of their homeland in their heart, and contribute to the economy with their taxes. We're getting close to it....

Amy Vickers said...

Our annual car tax bill is now over €1000!! I had to sell the lovely little car I drove over in as we couldn't fit car seats in!
I wonder if that's their scare tactic? there's power in the Irish abroad with dreams of the motherland...
I don't want to go back to my motherland though, I love it here, despite the dire economy, no prospects, no jobs, crap weather, massive cost of living and increasingly depressed civilians. Am I mad to love it so much? x