Budget 2017 – One Family Welcomes
Partial Reversals of OFP Reforms
New Government has made a start but it is not yet enough
(Dublin, Tuesday 11 October 2016) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting, and separating – welcomes the announcements of improved childcare supports, the €5 increases to the One Parent Family Payment (OFP) and Back to Education Allowance, increases in the Income Disregard level for the OFP and Jobseeker’s Transition (JST) rates, and the Cost of Education Allowance; but reacts overall to Budget 2017 as a missed opportunity to strategically support vulnerable one-parent families. All the recommendations from the recent NUIG report on Lone Parents and Activation, What Works and Why: A Review of the International Evidence in the Irish Context must be fully implemented particularly given the enormously high poverty rates experienced by these families: almost 60% of individuals from these households experience one or more forms of deprivation (EU-SILC 2014).
Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO, states: “We’ve long been calling for a restoration of income disregards and welcome this rise from €90 to €110 per week, along with some other long overdue announcements, but a full restoration to €146.50 per week is needed to support lone parents in work. And again we see no cohesive attempt to break down the barriers that one-parent families in receipt of social welfare payments still face, and nothing to acknowledge those who share parenting. Lone parents with children over 14 are still subject to full Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) conditionality and in particular, a much harsher means testing of additional income despite the recent CSO release from Q2 showing that employment rates have dropped for lone parents with children aged 12-17. There has been no change to Family Income Support (FIS) criteria such as the hours reduction we have called for, a most simple and cost-effective way to support parents to access employment.
“People parenting alone want to contribute to society through employment, they want to further their education and get out of living in poverty, but are caught in the trap of week to week survival. This Budget may make some difference for some families, but after so many years of consistent deprivation, is this enough? Not yet. It is not enough to fully tackle the unacceptable reality of lone parents and their children being amongst the poorest in our society today. Cross-Departmental work to reverse cuts more positively is essential to ensure that the damage done over the past five years is reversed. The recipe for what is needed is in the NUIG research, and in our Pre-Budget Submission, and it must be fully implemented.”
Karen continues: “What is needed to lift these families out of poverty is not a mystery. Simply, we need targeted financial supports for poor children and investment in services; a childcare system that is accessible to poor children and families and available outside of school hours; a defined education pathway for people parenting alone; the ability to make work pay through in-work supports; and a system that can be clearly understood and is less complicated, both to payment recipients and the Department’s own staff in local offices, so that lone parents can trust that they will receive the support and guidance that is best for their families.”
One Family’s Pre-Budget Submission 2017 included recommendations designed to support lone parents into education and/or employment, while acknowledging their parenting responsibilities. There is now a golden opportunity for Government to give hope to disadvantaged one-parent families, through following the NUIG research recommendations, and through working with and listening to the mine of evidence and experience being put forward by One Family and other organisations. Every parent must have an equal opportunity to create a better future for his or her children.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
- NUIG released Lone Parents and Activation, What Works and Why: A Review of the International Evidence in the Irish Context, commissioned by the Department of Social Protection, co-authored by Dr Michelle Millar and Dr Rosemary Crosse of the UNESCO Child & Family Research Centre in NUI Galway, in September 2016.
- One Family’s Pre-Budget Submission can be read here.
- 1 in 4 families with children in Ireland is 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)
- People in lone parent households continue to have the lowest disposable income out of all households in the state (EU-SILC 2014).
- Those living in lone parent households continue to experience the highest rates of deprivation with almost 60% of individuals from these households experiencing one or more forms of deprivation (EU-SILC 2014).
- 42,104 people are now receiving the One-Parent Family Payment. There are now 75,202 child dependents of One-Parent Family Payment recipients.
- Of the approximately 25,500 customers who exited the OFP scheme on 2 July, 2015, the majority of customers transitioned to the Jobseeker’s Transitional payment, the Jobseeker’s Allowance payment and the Family Income Supplement. – 13,600 (or 54%) of them moved to the Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment (JST); – 2,500 (or 10%) of them moved to the Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) scheme, and – 8,100 (or 32%) of them moved to the Family Income Supplement (FIS) scheme.
About One Family
One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and is Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families and people sharing parenting, or separating, 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 662212, 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, One Family CEO | t: 086 850 9191
Further Information or to arrange an interview:
Shirley Chance, Director of Communications | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 414 8511