herald

Friday 29 August 2014

MY BUDGET: 'My salary is safe -- but the cut in child benefit is a blow'

TEACHER Andrew Bates is relieved his pay hasn't been attacked in the Budget. He is a substitute teacher at St Colmcilles, Knocklyon, while his wife, Careena (33), is a full-time teacher. They welcomed their first child, a son called Luca, last week.

The couple rent a house in Harold's Cross and have no immediate plans to buy.

Andrew described the Budget as "a series of small cuts which will further erode our income but at least there was no major bad news for teachers that I can see".

"I'm scrutinising the fine print but so far I can't see any plans to hit teacher's pay. In the past few years I estimate we've lost €9,000 to €10,000 in pay. I was a consultant engineer before retraining as a maths and science teacher. I completed my retraining last June and I reckon I'm earning €20,000 less than I did as an engineer," he said.

"I love going in in the morning and find teaching very fulfilling. But my challenge now is being able to afford to raise a family on what they pay us."

He is concerned about childcare costs. "We haven't collected child benefit yet but already we're down €10. We're unclear whether Careena's maternity benefit will be taxed straight away or in the new year. We'll be paying more PRSI and all these cuts add up."

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