On Saturday 18th
February SPARK held a very successful march and rally in Dublin city centre.
Mary Diskin, Workers
Party National Executive member states: “The campaign by SPARK is one of the most vital campaigns taking place at the
present time. If the budget proposals come into effect, and if the cutbacks promised in the next three budgets are allowed
to be implemented, then the position of single parents and their children returns to the Victorian era.
“We are spending
billions each year paying for the greed of the bankers and the speculators. We have to repay up to €50 billion in Anglo
promissory notes. The weakest and most vulnerable in society are being sacrificed to keep the rich in their riches and to
keep international banks afloat. As a society we cannot allow that to happen. We cannot allow the gains of 40 years to be
wiped away at the whims of the troika or the wealthy elite in this country.
“Once again the Workers Party pledges our full
support to SPARK and to its constituent organisations (One Family, OPEN, and Treoir) in their fight for justice and equality”.
1. Reduction in income
disregard from €146.50 to €130 with plans to lower this to €60 by 2016. No acknowledgment of childcare costs involved
in a single parent working.
2. Reduction in entitlement age (for new one parent families)to age 12 of youngest child from April 2012 and to 7 from 2014. Phasing arrangements for existing recipients are being
considered. No allowance made
for childcare costs of school-age children. If parents can't fund full-time childcare costs, they are confined to remain
solely on welfare with no option to find part-time, child- friendly jobs.
3. CE schemes are now effectively
closed to lone parents, hindering training to those trying to get back to work. The withdrawal of the double payment means
that single parents will have to fund childcare and travel expenses from €20 per week. They will be forced to
remain in the home while children are under 7 and then forced to compete in an increasingly competitive job market.
University contributions were increased and grants cut, affecting both lone parents currently in 3rd level and those wishing
to improve their prospects through education, as well as lone parents' ability to pay for their children's 3rd level
5. The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance has been reduced by €50 for primary
school and €55 for secondary school children. This will have a greater impact on one-parent families than any other
group in Ireland.
transport contributions have increased which means additional cost for lone parents where school transport is available.
The new Household Charge applies to home-owning lone parents irrespective of whether relying on a primary welfare benefit
(affects those mortgaged but not in receipt of mortgage supplement - many lone parents aren't receiving this supplement
or aren't eligible).
8. The Fuel Allowance has been reduced by 6 weeks pa, resulting in a €120pa reduction.
Childcare: subvention rates to community crèches have been cut by 5%, while affordable childcare and afterschool provision
is lacking, childcare costs in Ireland are among the highest in Europe.
Only private and thus expensive childcare seems to be available for secondary school
10. A dependent wife is entitled to €124pw - a dependent child only receives €29.80pw.
We question the reasoning behind this considering growing children have a variety of needs but cannot contribute financially.
Similarly, a 25-year-old living at home on JSA receives €188pw whereas a dependent child only receives €29.80pw.
The JobsBridge programme is not open to lone parents. The same is true for the new access courses as no childcare allowances
are provided and lone parents are discouraged from participating.
13. Single parents must now pay €25
a week towards childcare when participating in FÁS or similar courses.
14. The €6 a week increase
in rent contributions is a thinly veiled cut to the base rate of social welfare despite repeated promises that
this would not happen at a time when the cost of living is increasing.
This measure will cause serious hardship to
single parents and their children.
15. Maximum rent levels at which rent supplement can be claimed have
been cut unevenly and often far to drastically around the county (e.g. a family with 2 children is cut by €230pm
in Wicklow and €0 in Louth).
Single parents are particularly vulnerable to becoming homeless if they cannot
renegotiate rent and supplement is withdrawn.
16. The temporary payment of half of the rate of One-Parent Family Payment
where the recipient's earnings exceed €425 per week will be discontinued. Existing recipients of the temporary
payment will not be affected.
17. Currently people getting One-Parent Family Payment can get half-rate
Jobseeker’s Benefit, Illness Benefit or Incapacity Supplement if they satisfy the qualifying conditions. These
half-rate payments will cease for applicants for Jobseeker’s Benefit, Illness Benefit and Incapacity Supplement.
For new and existing claimants, income from employment as a home help funded by the HSE will be assessed in means tests
for social assistance schemes including the One Parent Family Payment, from 1
If a person is on a Community Employment Scheme and One-Parent Family Payment, Deserted Wife’s Allowance or Benefit
or a widow's, widower's or surviving civil partner's pension, payment of the 2nd
qualified child increases will
cease for both new and existing recipients from 16 January 2012. In other words anyone with a child on the CE Scheme
will be down an average €60 per week from 16th January.
20. If you are widowed and you don't have enough
contributions you have to go on OPFP if your youngest is under 7, but are only allowed only 2yrs on OPFP if your
youngest is over 7.
21. If you are employed
part time and are in receipt of a partial payment of OPF payment you are not allowed to claim illness benefit while you are
out sick effectively meaning you loose half your income immediately.