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Taxing childless to help boost population, demographer says

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Childless people should pay extra taxes to encourage more people to start families.

That’s according to Dr Paul Morland, a demographer at St Antony’s College at the University of Oxford in England.

He said Newstalk breakfast this system already exists for the most part.

“It’s not that strange: after all, people who don’t have children – in the UK anyway, and I imagine it’s the same in the Republic of Ireland – do not receive family allowances.

“And in many countries in Europe, like France and Luxembourg, you get significant tax breaks for having children.

“So basically all I’m suggesting is what they have, say, in France – which is a higher rate of tax, which is then lightened somewhat to help people who have children … who bear this financial burden”.

Regarding people who cannot have children, Dr. Morland thinks they should be given more help.

“I think all help should be given to people who want children, I think we should spend more on helping people with IVF for example.

“Today, people who don’t have children don’t get child benefits… there are 1,001 reasons why they might not have children.

“But I’ve never heard anyone say, ‘It’s so unfair that I don’t get child benefits because… I don’t want kids, I can’t have kids.

“So it seems to me perfectly reasonable to help people who actually have the burden and pleasure of children through the tax system and the benefit system is perfectly reasonable.

“It’s something we’re already doing, I’m just saying we’re moving towards a more continental model where we’re doing it a bit more.”

And he says the reasons are due to aging populations.

“I think we need more people – and here in the UK we are increasingly short of manpower – everyone from bin men to brain surgeons.

“Census data shows that the world’s population is growing, people of working age are starting to decline.

“The biggest growth is in the over 70s – they need a lot of care – the biggest drop is in the under 5s.

“So we have a problem going down the track,” he adds.