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Tánaiste's U-Turn on Lone Payment Scheme is an admission of failure - O Snodaigh

6 November, 2014 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Responding to reports that the Minister for Social Protection will not now proceed with her planned cut to the Lone Parent Payment income disregard in 2015, Sinn Fein Social Protection spokesperson Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh said;

 “I debated this very issue with the Minister during Priority Questions in the Dáil two days ago.  She has clearly reflected on what I said and is finally doing something right. However the income disregard is not the only scheduled cut to the scheme for 2015.

“The Minister has already cut the income disregard from €146.50 down to €90 with the effect that lone parents working in low paid employment were cut €28 per week.  Had she proceeded with her scheduled cut next year these poor working families would be down a further €7.50 per week.

“On Tuesday I outlined to the Minister the scale of poverty amongst this group.  One-parent families are those most at risk of poverty, with the highest consistent poverty rate, at 17.4%, a rate of deprivation of 49.5%, and nearly 30% of families are at risk of poverty.

“While this latest reprieve for lone parents is welcome it was preceded by a relentless onslaught of cuts each and every year that this government has been in power.  In addition I also urged the Minister to abandon her plan to reduce the cut-off age to just seven years of age in 2015.  If she proceeds with that cut the effect will be to exclude thousands more lone parents from the lone parent payment scheme meaning that an income disregard of just €60 will be available to them anyway. For many that will negate this morning’s reported announcement.

“The Minister had promised back in 2012 that she would not proceed with cuts to the lone parent payment scheme without "a credible and bankable commitment" from the Government putting in place a system of ‘safe, affordable and accessible child care’. Today’s U-turn is an admission of the government’s absolute failure to deliver on childcare.”

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