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Government has hindered not helped One-Parent Families in 2013

Press Release

Government has hindered not helped

One-Parent Families in 2013

(Dublin, Tuesday 10 December 2013) One Family, Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families, campaigned for 10 Solutions. No Cuts. in the lead up to Budget 2014. These ten solutions are practical and economic measures that would greatly improve the quality of the lives of the adults and children of one-parent families in Ireland today. The campaign, a response to the harsh cuts of Budget 2012 that impacted disastrously on so many lone parents, was strongly supported by members of the public with hundreds of emails sent to TDs around the country.

So has Budget 2014 helped Ireland’s poorest families and children, and enabled lone parents to get back to work? One Family analysed the success or failure of Government to achieve each of its proposed 10 Solutions for Smarter Futures and awarded a score to each. The ‘Report Card’ below shows some small improvements but a very disappointing overall assessment with greater effort needed in most areas.

Karen Kiernan, CEO of One Family, states: “Following the dire cuts unleashed on one-parent families in Budget 2012, One Family has been providing solutions to government on how to help  meet  its own policy objectives of getting lone parents into sustainable employment.  Government has followed some of what we have advised but it has a long way to go. There is deep and continuing dissatisfaction with the existing social assistance system from all quarters: community groups, business, politicians, the people who run the system and customers.”

Stuart Duffin, One Family’s Director of Policy, comments: “Budget 2014 needed to deliver opportunities and chances for all our families and in particular those parenting alone. As Enda Kenny says, ‘Work must pay’; but more importantly investment is needed to help families out of persistent poverty. Investment in resources and services will enable that move. If  ‘work is to pay’ we need to look at how an efficient tax system can enable change; for example, Child and After School tax credits, moving FIS to being paid through the pay packet and on a sliding scale.”

Mr Duffin continues: “Budget 2014, despite being an opportunity to reward achievement, has in many ways – such as the ongoing slashing of the earning disregards and the abolition of the in-work One-Parent Family Tax Credit for both caring parents – nurtured perverse economic incentives to engage in the labour market.  The integration of social and economic instruments should be a whole of government effort, to prevent unintended consequences.”

One Family’s assessment:

Notes for Editors:

  • 1 in 4 families with children in Ireland is a one-parent family
  • Over half a million people live in one-parent families in Ireland
  • Almost 1 in 5 children (18.3%) live in 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)
  • 87,586 of those are currently receiving the One-Parent Family Payment
  • Those living in lone parent households continue to experience the highest rates of deprivation with almost 56% of individuals from these households experiencing one or more forms of deprivation (EU-SILC 2011) 

For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.

 

Available for Interview

Karen Kiernan, CEO | t: 01 662 9212 or 086 850 9191

Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy & Programmes | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 062 2023

 

Further Information/Scheduling

Shirley Chance, Director of Communications | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 414 8511

 

Abolition of the One Parent Family Tax Credit

One Family is extremely concerned by the Budget 2014 announcement of the replacement of the One Parent Family Tax Credit with a Single Person Child Carer Tax Credit as it causes a significant number of problems and possibly unintended outcomes.

The financial impact of abolition of the One Parent Tax Credit for the non-resident parent, as verified by Revenue, is:

Annual wage Difference in tax take per week
€13,500 (minimum wage x 30 hours) No change
€20,000 €13
€30,000 €10
€40,000 €48
€60,000 €47

The Revenue Commissioners estimates that for 2013, 76,800 income earners utilise some or all of the One-Parent Family Tax Credit. The gender breakdown is estimated as follows:

Female    51,224

Male       25,573

Total:    76,797

One Family has written to all Ministers, TDs and Senators to voice these concerns and urges everyone to write to their Representatives as soon as possible to do the same.

A proforma letter with suggested text that individuals can change as required is available to download here: One Parent Family Tax Credit_Letter to Representatives

A list of TDs and Senators including their contact details is available here.

One Family representatives have also participated in a number of press, radio and television interviews on the issue. You can read the press releases issued by One Family below:

17.10.2013 | Attack on Parents Sharing Parenting After Separation is Unjust, Unfair and Underhand

15.10.2013 | Budget 2014 is Anti-family and Anti-parent

Updates following Budget 2014

One Family has summarised the announcements of Budget 2014 in relation to a number of areas of relevance to people parenting alone or sharing parenting.

Budget 2014

People parenting alone and sharing parenting

Changes to Social Welfare payments for 2014

Basic rate of payment The weekly rate of payment is staying the same in 2014 for all weekly social welfare payments for those of working age and pensioners. No change.
One Parent Family Payment There will be no change to the rate of payment in 2014.

For those in employment the new rate of income disregard of €90 a week will be introduced in 2014, reduced from €110 in 2013. This means that the first €90 of earnings will be ignored and half of the remainder of earnings will be assessed to give a new rate of One Parent Family Payment.

No change.

 

Income Disregard reduced.

Child Benefit The rate remains at €130 and this will be for each child, as announced in December 2012. No change.
Maternity Benefit The rate of payment will be standardised at €230 for new claimants; this is a change from a maximum payment of €262 and a minimum of €217.80. The change will come into effect from January 2014. Payment standardised.
Fuel Allowance Rate of payment will remain and there is no reduction in the number of weeks. No change.

Secondary Payments

Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance Unchanged for all children under 18. In 2014 it will be paid for those aged 18 and over in secondary school but not for those in third level education. No longer payable to children in third level education.
Fuel Allowance It will remain at €20 a week for the 26 weeks. No change.
Rent Supplement No changes announced for single people with children but an increase in contribution for couples, from €35 to €40 weekly. No change for single people with children.
Mortgage Interest Supplement This scheme will be closed to new entrants and will be wound down over a four year period from January 2014 for existing recipients. Closed to new entrants and winding down.

One Parent Families in Work

Family Income Supplement Household income thresholds remain at 2013 levels. No change.
Income Tax, PRSI and Universal Social Charge Unchanged in 2014. No change.
One Parent Family Tax Credit This is being replaced by a Single Person’s Child Carer tax credit of the same value – €1,650 – only available to the principal carer. This tax credit of €1,650 was previously available to both working parents sharing parenting. Now only one parent – the principal carer – can avail of it.

One Family is actively clarifying a number of questions and concerns this change raises and will update in more detail as soon as possible.

Other

GP Visits Free GP care for children aged 5 and under announced. Free GP care for children aged 5 and under announced.
Medical Card Prescription charges increase from €1.50 to €2.50 for medical card holders. Prescription charge increased to €2.50.
Third Level Students The student contribution charge for third-level institutions will increase by €250 to €2,750 – increases by €250 until it reaches €3,000 in 2015. Increased.
Primary School Books A further €5m to be allocated to extend the books-to-rent in primary schools. Increased.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Budget 2014 is anti-family and anti-parent

Press Release

More attacks on working mothers and shared parenting

Budget 2014 is anti-family and anti-parent

(Dublin, Tuesday 15 October 2013) One Family, Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families today responds to Budget 2014 noting the removal of the One Parent Family Tax Credit, the cutting of Maternity Benefit at the higher rate and no plans to help lone parents get into work.

Karen Kiernan, CEO of One Family, states: ‘We are extremely disappointed that working parents who share caring and financial responsibility for their children after separation are now to be penalised by the removal of the One Parent Family Tax Credit for one parent. We should be supporting both parents to cooperate and share responsibility for their children following relationship breakdown instead of penalising them. In addition, the adjusted Maternity Benefit payments, following on last year’s taxation of the Benefit, will negatively impact on thousands of working mothers.’

The One Parent Family Tax Credit has been available to both people sharing parenting of their children where they are not cohabiting and their child lives with them for part of the year. It was worth €1,650 per year in addition to the normal tax credit.

Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy and Programmes at One Family states: ‘We have been concerned for some time by incidences of social welfare inspectors investigating families because the parents after separating are sharing parenting of their children. One Family works to ensure that parents do their best for their children as they move through separation and into the often challenging landscape of shared parenting. This cut is retrograde. It ignores the reality of the collaborative approach many people can take to sharing responsibility and penalises families who have separated.’

Kiernan concludes: ‘One Family finds the ongoing negative approach to parents and families by this government to be alarming. People need support to balance their working and parenting responsibilities. It costs people more money to live apart and share parenting of their children than if they were living together and the removal of this Tax Credit will cause conflict in separated one-parent families.’

Notes for Editors:

  • 1 in 4 families with children in Ireland is a one-parent family
  • Over half a million people live in one-parent families in Ireland
  • Almost 1 in 5 children (18.3%) live in 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)
  • 87,586 of those are currently receiving the One-Parent Family Payment
  • Those living in lone parent households continue to experience the highest rates of deprivation with almost 56% of individuals from these households experiencing one or more forms of deprivation (EU-SILC 2011)

Available for Interview

Karen Kiernan, CEO | t: 01 662 9212 or 086 850 9191

Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy & Programmes | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 062 2023

Further Information/Scheduling

Shirley Chance, Director of Communications | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 414 8511

Ten Days for Ten Solutions

With just ten days remaining until Budget 2014 on Tuesday 15 October, we are inviting everyone to support 10 Solutions. No Cuts. by taking one simple action on each of these ten days.

10 Solutions for Smarter Futures is our response to the harsh cuts aimed at lone parents in Budget 2012. These are changes that will benefit everyone, not just those on low incomes, as 10 Solutions for Smarter Futures is a series of ten no-nonsense, low or no-cost actions that Government can deliver to make life better for everyone.

How can you support the 10 Solutions campaign?

There are a number of things you can do.  These include:

1. Email your local TDs – use our pre-populated email facility. It takes less than two minutes on this link.
2. Join and share the ‘10 Solutions. No Cuts.’ event on Facebook. You can also change your profile pic to a 10 Solutions pic (available here).
3. Share on Twitter via @1FamilyIreland and #10Solutions.
4. Ask your colleagues and contacts, family and friends to support the campaign for 10 Solutions by taking the actions above too.

Read more about 10 Solutions here.

10 Solutions. No Cuts. Budget 2014.

Press Release

10 Solutions. No Cuts. Budget 2014.

(Dublin, Wednesday 18 September 2013) One Family, Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families, calls on Government to recognise that today’s challenging environment has impacted hardest on the 215,000 one-parent families in Ireland today, with those living in lone parent households suffering more than twice the national average rates of deprivation. We call for delivery of our low and no-cost 10 Solutions for Smarter Futures to improve the well-being of all families and ask that every parent and guardian of a child in Ireland take a few minutes to support our call for 10 Solutions to make life better for everyone. Let the Government know what lone parents need by taking action for 10 Solutions.

Members of the public can take action by:

  1. Emailing their local TDs – visit www.OneFamily.ie to use the pre-populated email facility. This takes less than two minutes.
  2. Share the ‘10 Solutions. No Cuts.’ event on Facebook via onefamilyireland.
  3. Share on Twitter via @1FamilyIreland and #10Solutions.
  4.  Ask family and friends to support the campaign for 10 Solutions and take action too.

Almost 56% of individuals from one-parent family households experience one or more forms of deprivation (EU-SILC 2011). With 87,586 lone parents in receipt of the One-Parent Family Payment and 36% of these working, the evidence confirms that lone parents are striving to improve their lives and those of their children, and to contribute in a meaningful way to society. Yet Budget 2012 penalised lone parents and added to their struggle while current legislature creates numerous pitfalls for lone parents returning to work and education.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO, comments: “We have seen austerity budgets land squarely on the poorest families and children but there are better ways to support lone parents into sustainable work that will lift them out of poverty. Government needs to make sure no more cuts hit vulnerable one-parent families and they need to implement our 10 Solutions which will help make work pay.”

Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy & Programmes at One Family, notes; “Pitfalls for lone parents who want to return to work and education include: lack of affordable child care; lack of available jobs; training courses at times that suit parents. Simple things; but all of which can close doors for lone parents. We call on Government to take the pressure off lone parents and prioritise parents’ needs by delivering our 10 Solutions.”

One Family puts children at the centre of its work and believes that every child deserves an equal chance and every family deserves the same opportunities towards a fairer future.

10 Solutions. No Cuts.

It’s that simple.

Notes for Editors:

  • 1 in 4 families with children in Ireland is a one-parent family
  • Over half a million people live in one-parent families in Ireland
  • Almost 1 in 5 children (18.3%) live in 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)
  • 87,586 of those are currently receiving the One-Parent Family Payment.
  • Those living in lone parent households continue to experience the highest rates of deprivation with almost 56% of individuals from these households experiencing one or more forms of deprivation (EU-SILC 2011).
  • The full 10 Solutions for Smarter Futures document is available to read here: http://www.onefamily.ie/professionals/policy-research/ten-solutions-for-smarter-futures/what-are-the-10-solutions/

About One Family

One Family was founded in 1972 and is Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families offering support, information and services to all members of all one-parent families, to those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and to those 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 622 212, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. One Family also promotes Family Day, an annual celebration of the diversity of families in Ireland today, with 10,000 people attending events this year on 19 May (www.familyday.ie). For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.

Available for Interview

Karen Kiernan, CEO | t: 01 662 9212 or 086 850 9191

Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy & Programmes | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 062 2023

Further Information/Scheduling

Shirley Chance, Director of Communications | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 414 8511

One Family attends pre-budget workshop today, our key messages tracked

One Family and the National One Parent Network attended the pre-budget workshop today – a much better interactive approach than previous years. One Family’s key messages and all of our ten solutions in our campaign 10 Solutions for Smarter Futures can be tracked in the Minister’s Department’s thinking about Budget 2014.

Work must pay; therefore in-work supports for those parenting alone must be delivered including:

  • the reform of FIS;
  • affordable, accessible and quality childcare;
  • tailored supports for families so that the most disadvantaged are supported;
  • outcome-based budgets which enforce departments to deliver joined-up thinking for the whole of Government prioritised. That helps to make public resources last, and aids decision makers in prioritising public and social investments that align with the services and supports that people, families and communities have told Government they need to achieve economic independence.

The Department of Social Protection’s budget is a key mechanism in delivering social investment.  Our recommendations are aimed at ensuring that better supports are provided for families. Helping people to better participate in and benefit from inclusion in the economy and community will both encourage economic activity over the short term and provide a strong foundation for longer-term economic growth.

One Family looks forward to working with the government and other stakeholders in this transformation of Ireland’s antiquated social assistance system. As the transformation begins, it is crucial that existing programmes and allowances be kept in place. New supports and programmes must be fully implemented before cuts or reductions in current benefits are made. Incomes for people on social assistance are so marginal that every Euro counts, and every Euro is spent in the local economy which contributes to sustained local economic development.