One Family, Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families, warns that any of the planned cuts in social welfare payments or in the minimum wage announced in the National Recovery Plan 2011-2014 will directly increase the thousands of one-parent families already living in poverty.
Figures just released show that poverty rates for one-parent families remain the highest for any family type and that the incomes of one-parent families have already fallen dramatically between 2008 and 2009 – by 15% – due to a drop of a third in the percentage of lone parents at work, according to the CSO (SILC.2009).
‘Planned cuts in the minimum wage together with increases in the tax take from low income workers especially in the absence of any jobs or childcare strategy will make this situation even worse for lone parents and their children,’ says One Family Policy Director Candy Murphy.
‘Surely it makes more sense to target those that can better afford a cut in their income?’ continues Murphy, adding that any proposals for a universal social charge and for changes in child income supports must not further penalise those on the lowest incomes, including many lone parents.
‘The emphasis of any reform should be on reducing poverty and social welfare dependency for lone parents by facilitating access to sustainable employment. Simply put, this means supporting those with childcare responsibilities to gain the skills and qualifications they need to be able to participate in any hoped for recovery in jobs in the years to come,’ continues Murphy. One Family runs a series of courses and programmes designed to do just that. These programmes, such as ‘New Futures’, help lone parents move on to training, education and employment.
‘But in order for any such initiatives to be truly effective, lone parents need affordable childcare once they have completed these programmes,’ continues Murphy, ‘that is why we caution against any social welfare or tax reforms that do not adequately reflect the reality of lone parents’ lives.’
One Family has been providing specialist family support services to people parenting alone and sharing parenting for 38 years. Services include parenting and skills training, counselling, parent mentoring and national information supports.
For further information please contact:
Hilary Fennel, Communications Manager 087 2359515
Karen Kiernan, Director, 01 662 9212, 086 850 9191
Candy Murphy, Policy Manager, 01 662 9212, 087 293 3180