Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Family Allowances.

40.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare the cost of providing family allowances in this State on scales similar to those operating in (i) EEC countries and (ii) Britain.

There is no family allowance scheme common to the member states of the European Economic Community. There are, in fact, considerable differences between the schemes of the various member states not only in rates of payment but also in coverage, qualifying conditions and methods of financing. All of these schemes differ so radically from the Irish children's allowances scheme that any attempt to apply their scales to the Irish scheme would be unrealistic and misleading.

The British family allowance scheme is broadly similar to the Irish scheme, being general in its application, free of any means or insurance test and financed out of general taxation. There are, of course, differences in coverage but applying the British rates of family allowance to the families being paid children's allowances on 31st March last, the annual cost of the Irish scheme would be £15,124,000.