One Family asks Mins, TDs and Senators to reflect on Budget 2013 impacts

One Family recommends Ministers, TDs, Senators and the architects of Budget 2013 reflect on its impacts

One Family, Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families, overviews the potential impacts of Budget 2013.  Karen Kiernan, Director of One Family offers her insight, ‘Household income for lone parents is squeezed once again with 1 in 5 poor children living in a one-parent family, and this is the impact in real terms of the range of cuts and increases in taxes introduced in Budget 2013. We have been working collectively to ameliorate the impacts of Budget 2012. We are now preparing to do the same again as we see the negative impact of Budget 2013!’

‘If we are all in it together – lone parents are in it deeper than the rest. The impact of the changes in PRSI will further cut the disposable income of low income one-parent families.’  For example, ‘The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance is an essential cost support for parents sending children to school, facilitating children continuing in education, thereby increasing their opportunities in later life.’

‘While we’re relieved that cutting the basic social welfare rate has been avoided, there is no getting around the bottom line that the decisions taken in Budget 2013, if we do not understand and alter their impact,  will put many more children into poverty whether their parents are working, unemployed, sick or disabled.’

We all must remember, ‘Children aren’t a private luxury but a public good. They are the future of our economy, our future workforce. They will pay the taxes that will pay for our schools, hospitals and pensions in the future. We owe all of them an obligation and potentially putting children in poverty makes no sense.’

One Family’s Welfare to Work Manager,  Stuart Duffin, calls on Government, TDs and Senators to reflect in the run-up to the forthcoming Bill on Social Protection, ‘Child Benefit must be tailored to ensure that it reaches those most in need, rather than just top-slicing. It’s not just and it is lazy social policy. We must ensure that the needs of economically disadvantaged families, such as those parenting alone, are fully recognised. Child Benefit should be means-tested, through the tax system, and could be paid to low income families as a refundable tax credit.’

Duffin continues, ‘Putting money into the hands of low-income families and in particular lone parents, who will spend that money at businesses in their communities, helps keep the economy moving. Increases to incomes will go directly to the purchase of food, clothing and other household necessities, benefiting not only low-income families but our economy.’

‘The property tax means that rents will increase. Families are still trying to deal with the rent supplement cuts with many continually moving, uprooting children from school and local services. If rent supplement is not reformed and brought into line with the market we are going to see many lone-parent families potentially homeless.’

Also, he suggests caution, ‘The removal of the Back to Education Allowance will act as a disincentive to going to college to gain new skills to get a sustainable job at a time when the labour-market demands strong knowledge and competences. This could react against all the efforts in place to encourage activation of lone parents and get them back into education and work.’

‘As part of our One Family – Ten Solutions – Smart Outcomes campaign we have advocated for support for after school care and increased opportunities for lone parents to gain work and skills experiences. We look forward to further details on the 10,000 extra opportunities on welfare to work initiatives and the €14 million allocated to support low income families access 6,000 places in a new Children plus Initiative,” says Stuart Duffin.

He continues, ‘Countries such as Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands invest in skills and adequate supports to take people out of poverty.   This investment will help to do the same for those parenting alone. This is a step to improve access for lone parents to sustainable careers and education opportunities. I hope this will be an effective inter-departmental investment that will allow lone parents to improve their educational and career competences, which will result in one-parent families lifting themselves out of poverty.’

He adds, ‘One Family looks forward to working on the action plan for these initiatives. However, it must be designed to specifically address and target recipients of the One Parent Family Payment who are at a higher risk of deprivation than other families. This approach requires cooperation to reach lone parents and low income families providing an opportunity to create meaningful skills training, education and employment supports. Ensuring work pays and assistance works.’

For the full Ten Solutions Campaign click here


For more information contact:

Stuart Duffin, Welfare to Work, One Family T: 01 662 9212   M: 087-0622023



No More Punishment for one-parent families

No More Punishment for one-parent families – Smart Steps to equity

in Budget 2013

Media Release, Thursday 11 October 2012

Launching their solution-focused  plan to ensure income security for lone parents, Karen Kiernan, Director of One Family, Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families says ‘There can be absolutely no more cuts or changes aimed at lone parents in Budget 2013. They are still reeling from the cuts in last year’s budget which saw the poorest families and children becoming even poorer as a direct result of the ill-thought out changes. As a service provider, over the last year we have witnessed how such changes caused untold hardship to one-parent families, many of whom were already struggling, and further distanced lone parents from the labour market.’

One Family calls for the Government to take an equity approach to Budget 2013, addressing the need for a tailored income support system which would ensure a basic level of income security for lone parents so that everyone, regardless of circumstance, can live with dignity in Irish society.

Stuart Duffin, One Family Welfare to Work Manager explains, ‘We are asking Government and Minister Burton to listen to and reflect on the necessary steps, which include reversing some of the negative changes and introducing new positive ones.’

Here is a summary of the Smart Steps:

  • Introduce flexibilities into the Jobseeker’s Allowance system:  during school hours, lone parents should only be required to be available to work part-time rather than full-time.
  • Provide accessible, affordable and quality childcare.
  • Provide mechanisms for accessible specialised bridging and skill development programmes that reflect and respond to the complex needs of one-parent families.
  • Build and deliver a responsive Labour Market Agreement Plan that creates a bridging link between training and future employment of those parenting alone.
  • Commit to a gradual repurposing of the €500 million given to private landlords annually into the establishment of a sustainable social housing stock, beginning with an initial assessment of NAMA assets.
  • Promote and deliver in-work (tax) credits, in-work assistance and tackle the backlog of Family Income Support to ensure that ‘work pays and assistance works’.
  • Acknowledge that consistent and persistent child poverty is a concern in Ireland and prioritise that Budget 2013 adjustments have a duty of care to ensure social protection for those who are vulnerable.

Stuart Duffin concludes, ‘The best way forward is to set the foundation for a sustained recovery through strategic investments in our social safety net. Currently, the system is unfair and traps lone parents in poverty and unemployment. If our advice is not followed, any more piece-meal changes will do little more than transform an awful system into a bad one.’

For the full Ten Solutions Campaign click here

For the full One Family Pre Budget Submission click here


For more information contact:

Hilary Fennell, Communications Manager, One Family  T: 01 662 9212  M: 087 2359515

Stuart Duffin, Welfare to Work Manager, One Family T: 01 662 9212 M: 087-0622023