Some positive moves to be welcomed but this falls short of the required Children’s Budget
Wednesday 9 October 2019
One Family welcomes the targeted measures in Budget 2020 for working lone parents and the commitment to fund research into child maintenance. Specifically, we welcome the targeted increases to help make work pay for lone parents and that restore payments to the ‘pre-cuts’ 2012 levels. These are: an increase of €15 in income disregards for the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) and Jobseekers Transition Allowance (JST); an increase of €10 to the income threshold for the Working Family Payment for families with up to 3 children; and increases in the Qualified Child Increase (QCI) by €3 for over 12s and €2 for under 12s.
Karen Kiernan, CEO of One Family, said “We are pleased that Government has been listening to us and our colleagues over the past year and have implemented some of the specific and targeted measures that we looked for. However they did not deliver a Children’s Budget to support Ireland’s poorest children out of their daily poverty and they did not use the evidence available to them when making all decisions.”
One Family notes there are still inequalities in how one-parent families are treated in the social welfare code when compared to two-parent families and these issues need to be resolved as a matter of urgency. Kiernan continued: “we know the vast majority of Ireland’s poorest children live in one-parent families therefore we must target supports at them. Unnecessary barriers need to be urgently removed to ensure that lone parents are treated fairly particularly in relation to eligibility requirements for the Working Family Payment and the Back to School Clothing & Footwear Allowance. It is just not right to let children’s lives be restricted by poverty”.
Kiernan welcomed the commitment to the establishment of a statutory Child Maintenance Agency saying: “We are pleased that Minister Doherty has committed €150,000 to research this important issue. We hope this will include robust stakeholder engagement and feed into existing evidence and work on child maintenance.”
Kiernan also welcomed the fact that Minister Zappone listened to the concerns about lone parents at risk of losing out in the new National Childcare Scheme saying: “It is reassuring that lone parents can now stay on existing subsidies until August 2021 if this is helpful to them. An additional five hours per week for those on income-based subsidies is also something we looked for and have received.”
But we continue to have deep concerns about the impact of the Budget on the most vulnerable children. If we enter into a No Deal Brexit, which seems the most likely scenario, these families, who are already held back through poverty, will slip further behind. Brexit may well be an economic tsunami for them – particularly those families in rural Ireland where the economic impact of a No Deal may be most felt. Increases to carbon tax and knock-on effects on fuel and energy use are a real issue and will push the vulnerable into further poverty.
For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.
Link to One Family Pre-Budget Submission:
Link to One Family Child Maintenance Paper:
Link to One Family Budget Comparison document:
Available for Interview
Karen Kiernan, CEO | t: 01 662 9212 or 086 850 9191
Noel Sweeney, Communications and Events Manager | t: 01 622 9212 or 085 7241294