Reforms by the Government to the One Parent Family Payment have been criticised by Sinn Féin representatives in Co Clare.
According to a new report from the ESRI, alterations to lone parent supports reduced the amount of income by one to two percent working parents took home and made it slightly less attractive for those in single-parent families to work between 2011 and 2018.
It also looked into the impact of childcare costs on the financial benefits afforded to lone parents for working.The study found that without taking childcare costs, 2% of lone parents were financially better off not working. Taking childcare costs into account, this rose to 16%. Once the childcare subsidies are taken into account, this fell slightly to 13%.
Cllr Mike McKee is one of two Sinn Féin candidates for the next General Election in Clare. He is critical of the changes made to the scheme. “Lone parent organisations have long raised the fact that under the changes to the One Parent Family Payment, lone parents were actually better off staying at home as opposed to working. But, this reality continues to be ignored by Government.”
He referenced the survey on income and living conditions which showed the deprivation rates for lone parents. “One in four families with children are one-parent families according to Census 2016.” Lone parents are struggling to meet the costs of living for themselves and their children. This includes the basics of housing, food, heating and clothes. This is unacceptable and should not be normalised.”
The Shannon councillor maintains the next Budget is a chance for the Government to address these issues. “The ESRI report is the latest in a long list of reports highlighting Government failure when it comes to supporting lone parents and their families. Budget 2019 provides the Government with a real opportunity to address the issues raised in numerous reports. We need to see the introduction of specific and targeted measures aimed at lone parents with real incentives to return to work or to education.”