Lone parents face cuts & insults

By Katia Hancke

“This was introduced because the existing arrangements were leaving many lone parents in insecure part-time jobs” – Richard Bruton to a working lone parent.

So, as anyone living in the real world knows, raising kids is not easy. And raising kids on your own is definitely not easy. Seven years of austerity have made it even harder: childcare costs have gone up, wages down, taxes up, cuts in child benefit and other social welfare. Throw on top of that a housing crisis spinning out of control and the fact that the majority of new jobs out there are low paid and insecure.

Falling into poverty

No wonder that lone parents are one of the most vulnerable groups in society, most likely to fall into poverty. A CSO Survey on Income and Living Conditions from May 2015 states that 63 per cent of lone parents are experiencing deprivation. Female-headed households are progressively falling further below the poverty line due to lack of income and opportunities.

In Ireland, single mothers are the main group who are increasingly being affected by poverty, and the reason being is that their income is insufficient to rear children. One-parent families are twice as likely to be affected by poverty as two-parent families. Many one parent families struggle to cover the basics of food, housing and energy costs.

Out of touch & condescending

This latest cut attacking lone parents shows exactly how far removed this government is from the harsh consequences of their decisions. The hypocritical, condescending and out-of-touch responses from Labour and Fine Gael TDs like Richard Bruton, Catherine “I saw you buying a bottle of wine” Byrne, Joanna “bring your kids to work” Tuffy and Emmett “I think it is a bad idea but I voted for it anyway” Stagg have added insult to injury.

The answer to these attacks is not to try and tweak them into a slightly more “acceptable” cut – raising the age by a few years or making some other exemptions. More than one third of children in Ireland now live in deprivation and if we want to improve their future, we need to get rid of this government and we need to reverse the austerity measures responsible for this sorry state of affairs.

In its place we need to fight for policies that truly facilitate parents to raise their children – investment in affordable community and workplace based public childcare facilities for all parents, free education, and giving parents a real choice to go to work or stay at home with their children.

Our children deserve no less.

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