Dublin Rathdown Fianna Fáil candidate Senator Mary White has called on the Minister for Social Protection to immediately stop the attack on the One Parent Family Payment before it is cut again in July. The payment has been dramatically reduced over the past three years as a result of changes to age and income criteria, introduced by this Government. The latest “reforms” will see some Dublin families losing up to €80 a week from July as the age threshold is cut from 16 to 7.
Senator White explained, “There are currently 26,745 one parent families in Dublin who depend on this essential support. For many, this payment is the difference between keeping their heads above water and falling into poverty. The latest cut, which is due to take effect from July, will see these single parents put under increasing financial pressure. It may even force some parents out of the workplace in order to continue to qualify for the payment.
“Three years ago Minister Joan Burton promised to freeze proposed changes to the One Parent Family Payment until appropriate childcare supports were in place. Despite rising childcare costs and cuts to child benefit the Minister is reneging on her commitment and pressing ahead with age eligibility changes. This is in addition to cuts following the lowering of the income threshold. One Parent Families have borne the brunt of some of the harshest cuts brought in by this Government. Minister Burton has stood over reductions to the Back to School and Clothing Allowance as well as a new tax on maternity benefit. She is now continuing with her attack on more vulnerable families with this latest round of cuts to the One Parent Family Payment.
“These underhand changes are cruel and unnecessary and will further add to financial pressure on many Dublin families who are struggling to pay basic bills. Rising childcare costs, the increasing cost of education and the additional household bills facing Dublin families has left many in extreme difficulty. Single parents who are trying to manage by themselves are particularly vulnerable financially. For them, this payment may be the difference between parents staying on in work or being forced to leaving their employment and enter the welfare system.
“If Fine Gael and Labour continue to ram through these measures, they will condemn a generation of children to a life of poverty and inequality,” Senator White concluded.