Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Social Protection Willie O’Dea says thousands of one parent families will see their incomes slashed because of changes to the One Parent Family Payment which comes into effect today. The measure, introduced as part of Budget 2012, will only be paid to parents whose children are 7 or younger. The age limit has been reduced year on year from 14 in 2011 to 7 as of today.
Deputy O’Dea commented, “This is another clear attack by the Minister on some of the most vulnerable families in the State and is the second time this year that the One Parent Family Payment has been targeted. Already this year, the gross earnings limit to qualify for the full payment has been reduced from €110 to €90 a week. That will be cut further to €60 by 2016.
“Minister Burton seems to be going out of her way to devise new and inventive ways to reduce the amount of money her department pays to one parent families. These are families that are already stretched financially and are struggling to keep afloat. Many single parents are unable to work because of high childcare costs, and despite claims that this payment acts as an incentive for them to return to the workplace, this new cut limits the amount of money they can earn to continue to qualify for the payment.
“The Minster has been dismantling the One Parent Family Payment by stealth over the past three years, despite promises to the contrary. In fact, during a speech on the issue in the Dáil in 2012, Minister Burton committed not to lower the age limit until a Scandinavian-style childcare system was in place. “I am undertaking tonight that I will only proceed with the measures to reduce the upper age limit to seven years in the event that I get a credible and bankable commitment on the delivery of such a system of childcare by the time of this year’s Budget. If this is not forthcoming, the measure will not proceed”.
“The change that is being introduced today is both cruel and unnecessary and will do nothing to encourage single parents back into the workplace. It is just one more measure that the Minister can add to the long list of Labour’s broken promises”.