By Ann Marie Foley - 07 July, 2014
Families with children, headed by a single parent, have been hardest hit by recessionary measures.
The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) has warned that cuts to the One Parent Family payment will reduce incomes by up to €70 per week and will drive some parents out of part-time work.
More than 7,000 recipients of the payment are to lose the One Parent Family payment this month.
“It is now more difficult for lone parents with low earnings potential and high levels of caring responsibilities to access employment, education or training,” John-Mark McCafferty, SVP Head of Social Justice & Policy, said.
He added that the measure “undermines the Government’s own policy of addressing unemployment and joblessness in disadvantaged households.”
Families with children, and in particular those headed by a person parenting alone, are the largest group requesting help from the SVP as they have been hardest hit by recessionary measures.
He cited an EU Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) which has shown that people in lone parent families tend to have the lowest disposable income in the state and the highest rate of deprivation.
The loss of the One Parent Family payment is one of the measures announced in previous budgets, but which come into effect this month.
The eligible age for a child in a lot of one-parent families is being reduced this year to seven, and next year for all one-parent families.
The SVP gives the example of a lone parent earning €200 per week net income and combining part-time work with the One Parent Family Payment and Family Income Supplement. They will lose more than €70 per week the SVP has warned.
This will mean that they can no longer afford the high cost of childcare and will have to quit work.
In its Pre-Budget Submission for 2015, which was launched last month, the SVP asked for measures to support those in low income work, tackle unemployment and provide supports and opportunities to jobless households.
SVP also wants investment in children and young people and urged the Government to:
– reverse both the reductions in the earnings disregard for the One Parent Family Payment and the removal of full medical card entitlement from those returning to employment
– Protect and enhance Family Income Supplement – a vital financial support for one parent families where the parent works over 19 hours per week
– ensure sufficient early childhood education services, childcare and after-school places to facilitate lone parents to participate in learning, training and employment.