Des O'Grady

OPINION Lone parent households have now been singled out by Labour Party Minister Joan Burton for extra pain.

From Monday 16 January the government has removed concurrent payments for new participants in Community Employment schemes and cut the qualified child payment for existing lone parent CE participants by €29.80 per child per week.

This means that a lone parent taking up a CE place from now on will not receive any extra social welfare payments.

As well as this people who are presently employed on a CE scheme receiving any Lone-Parent Family Social Welfare Payment will loose up to 2 qualified child payments totaling €59.60.

Those special arrangements for lone parents were the only supports that made it possible for many of them to take up employment in CE schemes.

The effect of these cuts will be to make participation in CE unaffordable for many lone parents and this will have devastating effects for their household budgets and self-esteem.

According to official statistics lone parents are Ireland’s poorest families and have already been hit with deep cuts to their social welfare payments in the last three budgets.

This disgraceful decision to abolish family payments for those who take up Community Employment will mean fewer and fewer lone parents will be able to move from welfare to work, thus consigning already disadvantaged families to worsening poverty and deprivation.

Sinn Féin’s fully-costed pre-budget submission demonstrated that these cuts are not necessary.

I am now calling on Government TDs, but especially on Labour Party TDs, to pressurise the Minister to rescind these savage cuts to lone parents immediately.

Des O’Grady

Sinn Féin