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Adequate supports must be in place for lone parents moving into workforce – Morgan

24 January, 2008

Sinn Féin Social Affairs Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has said plans by the Government to move lone parents, dependant on social welfare, into the workforce cannot proceed until adequate supports such as affordable childcare and transport infrastructure are in place. Deputy Morgan was speaking today after a report showed that the Government plans could put lone parents at risk of poverty.

He said, "Under Government welfare reform plans lone parents will be forced to seek work when their youngest child reaches the age of eight. However, at the age of eight a child attends school from nine in the morning until approximately half two in the afternoon. That would mean a single parent looking for a job that with working hours of nine in the morning till half two and that's only if the parent does not have to get the child to and from school. Jobs with these hours are few and far between.

"The other option is childcare, however with childcare costs soaring lone parents would need to find high paying jobs and, given the low levels of educational achievements among welfare dependant lone parents, this is highly unlikely. It would therefore be a much more positive proposal to bring welfare dependant parents into the education system before forcing them into the workforce.

"The bottom line is that welfare dependant lone parents should not be forced into the workforce until adequate supports such as childcare supports and transport infrastructure are in place and until educational deficits are made up. To do otherwise would be to force lone parents into low paid jobs and the risk of poverty." ENDS

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