Budget 2016 a Let Down for Poor One-Parent Families
Child Benefit Disappointing, Income Disregard Welcome
(Dublin, Tuesday 13 October 2015) One Family, Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting and separating, today responds to Budget 2016 acknowledging that Government listened to us and the parents we support by providing a modest increase in a parent’s ability to stay in low paid employment by increasing the income disregard of those on JobSeekers Transition Allowance (JSTA). However a Child Benefit giveaway to everyone is unstrategic and does not address the children pushed into poverty by this Government. This approach does not fit with the Government’s self proclaimed family-friendly Budget for 2016.
Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO explains: “This Government has heaped cuts on those one-parent families who rely on social welfare in the past four Budgets. Child poverty rates have rocketed, particularly in one-parent families and some social welfare reforms have run contrary to Government policy. Therefore equalising the amount someone can earn whilst on the JSTA is just common sense in supporting people to move off welfare and into sustainable employment. However welcome this tweak is, much more needs to be done to provide a package of supports to help parents work and we haven’t yet seen any sign of that.
“It is not good enough that some families are supported more than others, if Government really wants to be family-friendly to all families then more needs to be done to be aware of the reality of the diversity of families in Ireland what they need.”
Stuart Duffin, One Family Director of Policy & Programmes, states: “Government has not listened to the calls of many organisations in the voluntary sector to target resources at the poorest children in Ireland rather than giving a pre-election €5 to everyone on Child Benefit. What low-income working families need is the Family Income Supplement adjusted so that it makes work pay by reducing the qualifying hours to 15 hours per week and tapering the payment; as well as recognising the value and costs of shared parenting by providing the Single Person Child Carer Tax Credit to each parent. It seems also to have ignored recommendations put forward by the OECD and ESRI in their recent reports showing that parents continue to have higher jobless rates than others. We know that Government has seen the evidence. It is, shockingly, yet to be seen to effectively act on it continuing not to invest the required levels in childcare and afterschool care.”
Government should be doing everything it can to help poor children, but Budget 2016 lets families down again. One Family calls on Government to respond to the lived realities of one-parent families and get it right.
Available for Interview
Karen Kiernan, CEO | t: 01 662 9212 or 086 850 9191
Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy & Programmes | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 062 2023