Govt targets One Parent Families for third year in a row – Smith

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has accused the Government of promising tax breaks for the well-off while cutting essential supports for one parent families.  From next month the payment will be cut again, with some families losing up to €80 a week, as the age threshold is reduced from 16 to 7.

Deputy Smith commented, “There are almost 1,800 one parent families across Cavan and Monaghan who are dependent on this payment.  For many it is the difference between them staying on top of their finances or falling into poverty.  Over the last three years, this Government has consistently chipped away at the payment by changing the income thresholds and reducing the age criteria.

“As of next month, these families will be targeted once again.  This latest cut will see parents put under increasing financial pressure, and could see some parents forced out of the workplace in order to continue to qualify for the payment.

“On the one hand we have Minister Joan Burton claiming that she hasn’t touched core social protection benefits, when the reality is that over the past 4 years she has cut child benefit, taxed maternity benefit and slashed the Back to School Allowance.  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

“The Government is blatantly trying to win over voters with its empty promises of new tax reliefs while glossing over the fact that it’s continuing with its slash and burn policy towards vulnerable families.  The sneaky changes made to the One Parent Family Payment has already seen many single parents forced into a trap whereby they’re unable to stay at home and look after their children because it has been cut so substantially, while at the same time being unable to return to the workforce because of the high cost of childcare.

“The Government needs to reassess its priorities and ensure that those most in need are protected.  These latest changes are cruel and unnecessary and will just add to the financial burden that families in Cavan and Monaghan are already under.  Instead of plumping up big business interests, the Minister should be arguing the case for directing any extra resources to essential supports and improved services”.