One-parent families to suffer under today’s harsh budget

5 December 2011 Media Release

One-parent families to suffer from today’s harsh budget

Ireland’s poorest families, particularly those parenting alone, have been abandoned by today’s budget and left to face the worst, according to One Family, Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families. As he announced today’s budget, Minister Howlin said  ‘…I believe that we have a duty to protect the most vulnerable in our society, and to provide the safety net of social protection in what are very extraordinary times. We must also get people back to work…’ One Family believes that, in the case of one-parent families, the Government has failed on both fronts.

Under the new budget, the upper age limit of the youngest child for new claimants of the One-Parent Family Payment will be reduced to 7 years on a phased basis. Karen Kiernan, One Family Director comments, ‘This means that, by 2014, lone parents of children aged 7 will be deemed available for full-time work despite the fact that we are in a recession, there are hardly any jobs out there and, even if there were, there is no comprehensive affordable childcare or after school care.’

The budget also reduces income disregard, that is, the amount a lone parent can earn whilst still being allowed to claim the full One-Parent Family Payment. This will be reduced from €146 to €130 per week in 2012 and to €60 over a five year period, by 2016. Kiernan continues, ‘The slashing of income disregard makes no sense – it will mean that people who parent alone will have to give up part-time, low paid jobs and this in turn will disconnect them entirely from the labour market. There will be no incentive to do this work.’

Other cuts in today’s budget for one-parent families include –

  • raising the age for Back to School Clothing & Footwear Allowance from 2 to 4
  • reducing the allowance from €305 to €250 for children aged 12 years or more and from €200 to €150 for children aged 4-11 years
  • Standardising the rate of payments of child benefit for all children over two years.

‘One-parent family households are already four times more likely to live in poverty,’ adds Stuart Duffin, One Family Welfare to Work manager, ‘today’s many cuts, coupled with the fact that there is no provision of services or supports to help lone parents get back into education or training, will have a devastating effect on one-parent families.’

For more information from One Family contact:

Karen Kiernan, Director 01 6629212 086 8509191

Stuart Duffin, Welfare to Work Manager 01 6629212  087 0622023

Hilary Fennell, Communications Manager 01 6629212   087 2359515