Attack on Parents Sharing Parenting After Separation
is Unjust, Unfair and Underhand
(Dublin, Thursday 17 October 2013) One Family, Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families, is deeply concerned by the removal of the One Parent Family tax credit and tax free allowance announced on Tuesday as part of Budget 2014 which will have disastrous and far-reaching consequences for separated Fathers and Mothers who share parenting of their children.
Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy and Programmes at One Family states: “Claimants of the One Parent Family tax credit are working Mums and Dads who are committed, responsible parents participating in a successful arrangement with their child’s other parent for the well-being of their child. This is an in-work support and the kind of mechanism that needs to be in place to deliver Pathways to Work, a cornerstone initiative of the Government’s recovery programme. Ultimately it is children who will be impacted with less money to go round in already hard hit families.”
The One Parent Family tax credit of €1,650 was previously available to both working parents sharing parenting after separation. From 2014, it is being replaced by a Single Person’s Child Carer tax credit of €1,650 which will only be available to the parent in receipt of Child Benefit. As the principle carer is usually the child’s Mother, and she may not be working, these changes mean that in many cases neither parent will now meet the specified criteria. Some parents may be at a loss of over €125 per month as a result of the removal of the one-parent family tax credit and the removal of the one-parent family tax rate.
Duffin continued: “One Family has a received a barrage of calls to the askonefamily helpline, plus emails and Facebook comments from worried parents who are already pushed to their limits. There is a lack of joined up thinking and policy between the Departments of Finance, Social Protection and Children & Youth Affairs as this government is penalising the good practice of shared parenting. One Family is actively calling for clarity and action to ensure that working parents don’t become welfare recipients.”
One Family warns Government that it must address implementation problems, otherwise this is going to create long-term challenges for parents.
Karen Kiernan, CEO of One Family, comments: “We are calling on Government to reverse this decision and to reinstate the relevant tax credits to ensure that one-parent families who are still coping with the cuts of Budget 2012 are not pushed further into poverty. We are concerned that along with other government measures this will damage the objective of making work pay and more people will end up becoming customers of the Department of Social Protection as many fathers have told us they simply won’t be able to pay as much maintenance as they have been.”
Concerned parents can contact the lo-call askonefamily helpline on 1890 662 9212 and email email@example.com.
Notes for Editors:
- 1 in 4 families with children in Ireland is a one-parent family
- Over half a million people live in one-parent families in Ireland
- Almost 1 in 5 children (18.3%) live in a one-parent family (Census 2011)
- There are over 215,000 one-parent families in Ireland today (25.8% of all families with children; Census 2011)
- 87,586 of those are currently receiving the One-Parent Family Payment
- Those living in lone parent households continue to experience the highest rates of deprivation with almost 56% of individuals from these households experiencing one or more forms of deprivation (EU-SILC 2011)
- Operational Challenges for Government to be addressed:
- If the principal carer is not working, can the allowance be claimed by the other parent?
- If the principal carer is not working and the allowance is claimed by the other parent, what happens when the principal carer returns to work?
- What about parents who share care 50/50?
- How will this be managed for parents who are already in dispute with each other following separation?
- Can clear provisions be made for flexibilities such as splitting the credit between working parents; and making it available to the working parent, usually the Father, who is often classed as ‘secondary carer’.
Available for Interview
Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy & Programmes | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 062 2023
Karen Kiernan, CEO | t: 01 662 9212 or 086 850 9191
For Case Studies, Further Information/Scheduling
Shirley Chance, Director of Communications | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 414 8511