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Sharp rise on Lone Parent Sanctions in 2016 – Denise Mitchell TD

28 February, 2017 - by Denise Mitchell TD

Penalty sanctions on lone parents by the Department of Social Protection has shown a sharp rise in 2016 said Denise Mitchell TD Sinn Féin Junior Spokesperson for Social Protection, and clearly does not help with our startlingly high poverty rates.

Denise Mitchell TD for Dublin Bay North stated:

‘There has been 452 penalty rates applied by the Department since 2011, however over half, 240 of the penalty rates, were applied in 2016. This was applied only for those lone parents who are on the Jobseekers Transitional payment and for failure to engage in a job activation scheme.

‘What this demonstrates, as with the rise in sanctions for other social welfare payments overall, is that the department is developing a clear policy change. This month figures were realised showing that one parent families were almost four times more likely to live in consistent poverty than two parent households. The Survey on Income and Living Conditions report shockingly sees one parent families had the highest rate of consistent poverty at 26.2%, which is an increase from 25% in 2014.’

‘With lone parents already experiencing these high poverty rates, and with some being faced with the added financial burden of a sanction from the department, this is clearly not going to alleviate the pressure parents are under.

‘Sinn Féin placed an amendment into the Social Welfare Act 2016 which called for a report on previous lone parent social welfare payment changes and their affect. We need to know the consequences of these changes on lone parent social welfare payments and addressing our high poverty rates in this State should be the focus by the Minister for Social Protection.’

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