One-parent families in Galway will be put “under increasing financial pressure” following changes to the one parent family payment which sees the age limit for the youngest child reduced from 10 to seven.
More than 3,000 families across Galway are in receipt of this payment and the changes, which came into effect this week, follow the reduction in the gross earnings limit this year, from €146.50 in 2011 to €90 a week. There are further plans to slash this to €60.
Fianna Fáil Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív has accused the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton of targeting one parent families.
“Many one parent families depend on this payment to keep on top of their household budget,” he said. “This sneaky change will see them put under increasing financial pressure.
“Many single parents are unable to work because of the high cost of childcare. The changes introduced today will see them squeezed even further. Minister Bruton had promised not to implement any changes until a Scandinavian style childcare system had been introduced here. However, she’s now chosen to break another promise.”
Minister Burton has also come in for criticism from Sinn Féin city councillor Mairéad Farrell, following publication this week of a report by Social Justice Ireland.
Social Justice Ireland’s report shows there are now three-quarters of a million living in poverty – up a quarter of a million since the Fine Gael-Labour Government came to power in 2011. A quarter of those in poverty are children while 16 per cent of those classed as poor are actually in employment.
“This has all happened under Joan Burton’s watch,” said Cllr Farrell. “It is clear that Burton will make no difference at the helm of Labour as this Government has the vulnerable constantly in its sights.”