Report of the Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare on Child and Family Income Support Payments


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Introduction

The Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare was established by the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection in June 2011. The members of the Group are listed in Appendix 1. The first meeting of the Group was held on 30 June 2011. Eleven further meetings have been held.
 
The Group’s terms of reference are quite wide ranging – they are set out in full in Appendix 1. Among other things, the Group was asked to examine child and family income supports (in particular child benefit, increases for qualified children and family income supplement). While recognising that all the issues to be examined are inter-related, the Group decided to give priority to the issue of direct child income support (CIS). This report deals only with that issue.
 
The terms of reference require that all of the Group’s work is carried out in the context of ensuring that the income support and tax systems provide good incentives to take up work and contribute to the reduction of poverty and child poverty in particular. The Group is also required to consider any proposals for change to existing arrangements in a cost-neutral or cost-reducing context.
 
The Group did not consider that it had enough information available to reach definitive conclusions on the long term development of child income support in time for Budget 2012. It did not make specific recommendations for changes in Budget 2012 but did provide a progress report to the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection in advance of the Budget. An extract from the progress report is included in Appendix 3.
 
The report comprises eight sections with more detail contained in the Appendices. Sections 1 to 3 introduces the report, reviews submissions made to the Group and sets out the objectives of child income support. Section 4 outlines the rationale for change while section 5 reviews the options for change. Section 6 reviews two of the main options for reform of child income support: a two-tier Child Income Support payment and taxation of child benefit. Section 7 contains the conclusions and recommendations of the Group. Section 8 identifies issues to be addressed in light of the Group’s recommendations.
 
Last modified:20/02/2013