Government policies push more one-parent families out of work and into poverty –
One Family Annual Review 2013
(Dublin, Monday 29 September 2014) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone and people sharing parenting – launches its Annual Review 2013 amid ongoing trends of embattled parents leaving work due to poorly thought-out government policies, lack of quality out of school care and rising accommodation costs.
Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO explains: “2013 was another hard year for one-parent families in Ireland. The poorly planned policies in Budget 2012 are pushing more people parenting alone onto social welfare fulltime as they cannot afford to work, attend education or get workplace experience due to government cuts. This makes no sense and is counter-intuitive as on the one hand government is forcing people onto the live register when their youngest child is seven, whilst at the same time making it harder for them to stay connected to the labour market as the income disregard has been slashed. We know that work isn’t working for far too many families. We must move on from attacking those parenting alone to addressing real needs by helping people stay in work by increasing the income disregard in Budget 2015.”
Stuart Duffin, One Family Director of Policy & Programmes, highlights: “One Family’s Annual Review 2013 shows a 20% increase in calls to our national askonefamily helpline specifically in relation to social welfare and finance issues as parents try to make work pay, often unsuccessfully. This is because the support they get from the State is continuing to decline in real terms, the barriers to returning to or staying in work can be insurmountable for many and government policies are working against them.”
One Family’s 10 Solutions campaign addresses this as a matter of urgency. Research shows that a key contributor to children’s futures is not the structure of their families but living in consistent poverty. Current policies mean that Ireland risks seeing more poor children becoming poor adults. This is catastrophic for their life chances and the public purse. But it is not too late to change this.
Karen continued: “We saw a massive increase in tax related queries as Budget 2014 removed the One Parent Tax Credit which is another example of the government not understanding the needs of families who share parenting of their children. The tough qualifications for rent supplement is also pushing people out of work and many families are becoming homeless – this is a matter of urgency.”
One Family’s Annual Review 2013 can be read/downloaded here.
A short video summarising One Family’s Annual Review 2013 and 5 key demands for Budget 2015 can be viewed here.
One Family’s demands for Budget 2015 are:
- Work must pay for low-income families.
- Income disregard cannot be cut anymore and the minimum hours qualification for FIS eligibility should be reduced.
- Those on the OFP must have equal access to all of the government activation measures and access to free part-time education to help them get into sustainable careers.
- Out of School Childcare needs to be recognised and supported so that parents can access education, training and work.
- The Single Person Child Carer Tax Credit discriminates against those sharing parenting – most often against Fathers, and is out of step with the realities of contemporary Irish family life.
One Family’s full Budget Submission can be read here.
Lone parents are being forced out of employment. The ongoing reduction of the income disregard – the amount a lone parent in receipt of the One-Parent Family Payment can earn without a reduction in supports as they transition into employment – from €146.50 to €60 per week is working against Government policy. This reduction means that it is no longer financially viable for many to work which is the opposite of what Government claimed to set out to do – support lone parents into employment. Although 53% of lone parents are in the labour force, one-parent families remain those statistically most at risk of poverty. This cannot be justified.
About One Family
One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and is Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families offering support, information and services to all members of all one-parent families, to those sharing parenting, to those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and to professionals working with one-parent families. Children are at the centre of One Family’s work and the organisation helps all the adults in their lives, including mums, dads, grandparents, step-parents, new partners and other siblings, offering a holistic model of specialist family support services. These services include the lo-call askonefamily national helpline on 1890 62 22 12, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. One Family also promotes Family Day and presents the Family Day Festival every May, an annual celebration of the diversity of families in Ireland today (www.familyday.ie). For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.
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