Mandate calls for reversal of changes to One-Parent Family Payment scheme

Thursday 18 June 2015, 12am

Mandate has called on the Government to reverse its decision to implement cuts to the One-Parent Family Payment scheme saying that some low-paid single parents could be facing a loss of €80 per week – many of whom will be Mandate members.
 
The Government and the Department are making the cuts under the guise of “reducing long term social welfare dependency” when the reality is very different.
 
At the moment a lone parent with children can get the lone parent’s allowance until the youngest child reaches 14. 
 
The Government aims to bring that down to seven years which will affect more than 30,000 lone-parent families.
 
Mandate say this is unfair and will destroy the living standards of single parents and their children right across the country.
 
“The vast majority of lone parents receiving this allowance are already among the most vulnerable and poorest in our society. They’ve paid enough for a crisis not of their making and it’s about time the Government changed focus and stopped targeting those on low pay and instead went after those who caused the economic mess,” said John Douglas, Mandate General Secretary.
 
Ireland has the second highest underemployment rates in the EU15 – with 140,000 workers classifying themselves as wanting more hours – but not having access to them. 
 
Mr Douglas added: “For the Government to be saying they want to move ‘lone parents out of the poverty trap and into work’ is to ignore the reality on the ground.
 
“As we’ve seen, Dunnes Stores workers have no mechanism for accessing more hours and cuts to the One-Parent Family Payment will result in many more families entering our poverty statistics.”
 
Here are some facts in relation to the One-Parent Family Payment cuts:
  • Lone parents are poorest sector in Irish society with 65% deprivation rates in most recent EU SILC report. This is going without two or more basic needs such as food, warm clothing and heating.
  • Minister Joan Burton in 2012 said she would not go ahead with these cuts unless she had a Scandinavian-type childcare in place. These cuts and changes are happening without childcare.
  • The immediate financial loss is to low paid parents mostly working part time. Those with low-hour contracts are most vulnerable to cuts as FIS is not even on option.
  • The Government is talking about recovery, but lone parents are not part of that recovery. By 2017 a lone parent working 20 hours on minimum wage will be down €108 a week. This does not include cuts on children’s allowance, rent allowance or back to school which are all additional cuts.

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