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Lone parents to be penalised under new DSD proposals - Brady

21 November, 2008 - by Mickey Brady

Lone parents to be penalised under new DSD proposals - Brady

Sinn Fein MLA Mickey Brady has voiced his concerns at the proposals by Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie to force lone parents onto Job Seekers Allowance once their youngest child has reached the age of 12.

Speaking today Mr Brady said:

"The plans brought forward by the Social Development Minister, Margaret Ritchie, would effectively force lone parents to be moved from income support to job seekers allowance once their youngest child is twelve years old and actively seek work. If they fail to do so they could loose their benefits.

"Lone parents cannot be singled out like this. The proposed changes will bring even greater hardship onto people who face the challenge of raising a family on their own, while trying to provide for their children.

"What Margaret Ritchie needs to be doing is creating the proper conditions to encourage people back to work through providing the likes of accessible and affordable child care, and family friendly working conditions. Forcing lone parents into a cul de sac is unacceptable.

"The question that needs to be answered by Margaret Ritchie is that are lone parents to be penalised, by loosing their benefits, under the current DSD legislative proposals? Margaret Ritchie needs to build in proper safeguards to protect lone parents rather than simply bringing forward proposals which mimic legislation at Westminster."

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