Press Release | Urgent Reversals Required Before Drastic Cuts Foisted on Ireland’s Poorest Families

Media Release, 8 December 2011


Urgent reversals required before drastic cuts foisted on Ireland’s poorest families

One Family, the leading national organisation for one-parent families, is extremely concerned at the cuts targeted at one-parent families in Budget 2012. Our thousands of members, clients and supporters are also very concerned and our national helpline has been inundated with calls from worried and angry parents.

We are instigating a national campaign to reverse these targeted cuts at Ireland’s poorest families and we call on supporters from all over Ireland and from every political background to support us. Legislation to pass Budget 2012 is going through the Dail on Friday (tomorrow) so there is a great urgency in this campaign. We have already contacted all Ministers and TDs.

The immediate impact of Budget 2012 on one-parent families is:

  • An additional €6 per week to be paid by parents towards rent supplement
  • A loss of €120 per year towards fuel costs
  • A loss of €50 per primary school age child and €55 for secondary school age child in Back to School Clothing & Footwear Allowance cuts
  • An increase in VAT, fuel costs, school transport costs as well as school capitation grants
  • The loss of €29.80 per child per week because of the cut in the two qualified child increases where the parent is on a Community Employment Scheme and One Parent Family Payment
  • New CE scheme applicants will no longer able to retain the One Parent Family Payment and their salary from their participation in the CE scheme
  • For the minority of one-parent families with three or more children, a loss of €228 per year for a family with 3 children and €432 for those with 4 children.

The activation measures announced in Budget 2012 have been designed to cut costs to the exchequer rather than support lone parents into sustainable employment and they will not work. Some cuts will actually disconnect lone parents from the labour market in direct contradiction of government policy. They will increase rather than alleviate high levels of child and family poverty for the following reasons:

  • We are in a recession and there are no jobs
  • There are no specialist supports to help lone parents engage with education, training and the labour market
  • The level of money in the Community Childcare Subvention scheme has been cut and there will be a €25 weekly contribution to costs from FÁS and VEC trainees for Childcare Education and Training Support
  • There is poor provision of after school care in Ireland
  • There is poor childcare provision in parts of the country
  • There is very little part-time or modular education
  • Budget 2012 has cut family supports through the Family Resource Centre programme and the Family Mediation Service at a time when more families are separating
  • Slashing the income disregard will result in increased poverty levels and a disconnection from the labour market
  • Education levels of many lone parents are low and they will require long term interventions to help them progress to degree level
  • Disincentivising Community Employment as a means of gaining training, accreditation, work experience and a salary will increase a disconnection from the labour market.

We demand the following changes to Budget 2012:

  • Devise an additional payment for the poorest children in Ireland to compensate for all the cuts to family income
  • Reverse the decision to disallow the payment of partial One Parent Family Payment to those on Community Employment
  • Maintain the income disregard at current levels for the foreseeable future at €146.50 per week
  • Develop appropriate supports and services in partnership with the voluntary sector to progress lone parents into sustainable employment and pause the lowering of the age limit for OFP eligibility until this is achieved
  • Prioritise the case management of lone parents in the new National Employment and Entitlements Service and ensure all supports for those on the live register are available to OFP recipients.

Here is the context in which one-parent families in Ireland live:

  • 65% of the country’s poorest children live in one-parent families
  • You are four times more likely to live in consistent poverty in a one-parent family than other families (SILC, 2010)
  • Those parenting alone were the most negatively affected by the previous budget, losing almost 5% of their annual income. This compared with just a 1.3% fall for high income married couples (TASC, 2011)
  • One-parent families were poor in the Celtic Tiger and remain so now
  • Low education levels (ESRI, Persistent at Risk of Poverty in Ireland 2011 and Growing-Up in Ireland 2011).

For more information contact:

Hilary Fennell, Communications Manager 01 6629212/087 2359515

Stuart Duffin, Welfare to Work Manager 01 6629212/087 0622023

Karen Kiernan, Director 01 6629212/086 8509191