Media Release, Weds 29 August 2012
In response to today’s news that the EU has warned Government that it needs to reform our welfare system, One Family, Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families, welcomes the broad recommendations and in particular the broadening of the tax base.
Stuart Duffin, One Family Welfare to Work Manager explains, ‘Despite what the economists might say, the jobs recovery has not yet begun. Low-income people, particularly those parenting alone, are facing two significant challenges. The first is simply keeping their heads above water, as they struggle to cover their rent or mortgage, to meet the continually rising costs of energy, to cover the costs of transportation, of putting food on the table and of educating their children, all during a period of high unemployment and few sustainable labour market opportunities. The second challenge is how to develop the skills necessary to participate in any economic recovery and to be capable of benefiting from future economic growth.’
Any successful poverty reduction strategy for Ireland must include a new approach to social assistance programmes that recognises these challenges. The Irish Government needs an overall vision for social assistance. Its adoption of poverty reduction as a goal in social policy must be echoed by creating a 21st century income security system, with underlying principles recognizing diversity through creating equity, treating people with dignity and respect, enhancing social and economic inclusion and eradicating poverty traps.
Duffin continues, ‘One Family’s Ten Solutions are all about delivering some of the supports needed to enable those parenting alone to have better futures out of poverty, off social assistance and in quality, sustainable jobs. A key element of reform will be the Government’s commitment to flexibilities within the system: for example, lone parents who transition to Jobseeker’s Allowance should not be required to be available for fulltime work but rather for 15 hours per week during school hours. This should mitigate many of the child protection concerns that have arisen around 7 year olds being left on their own. A series of flexibilities or exemptions are required in the UK and many other countries to allow for a lack of childcare, lack of transport, a child with a disability, separation, bereavement, home-schooling and so on.’
For more information contact Hilary Fennell, Communications Manager, One Family, 01 6629212 / 087 2359515 or Stuart Duffin, Welfare to Work Manager, 087 0622023