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