Welfare changes, better job prospects and training, accessible child care identified as key concerns of lone parent families
Statement by Senator Katherine Zappone
The voices of lone parent families need to be heard as welfare changes which will cut income and job prospects for many come into force from midnight July 1st 2015. The Independent Senator is seeking the establishment of a special working group to give voice to lone parents in the preparations for the Budget – including the National Economic Dialogue which will be hosted by the Government later this month.
Senator Zappone made her call as she published a range of recommendations from a Civic Forum of Lone Parent Families and their supporters at Leinster House.
In its recommendations the Forum is seeking affordable and accessible early childhood education and after school care as well as opportunities through training and higher education to improve the job prospects of parents.
Publishing the Civic Forum's report, Senator Zappone insisted that "the Government should urgently consider our findings and I believe should respond by:
• Establishing a special working group as a matter of urgency to include lone parent representatives, civil society as well as TDs and Senators which can contribute to the planned National Economic Dialogue meetings and other preparations for the Autumn budget
• Ensure families are not out of pocket by immediately resetting the Income Disregard level for the Job Seekers Transition Allowance to that of the One-Parent Family Allowance
• Give those families impacted by the new changes priority in accessing quality childcare, including the provision of a special allowance when the only option is a private service"
Senator Zappone added “From this week the reality of the welfare changes will hit lone parent families with threats to income, reduced access to training and education as well as access to work. The unintended consequences of the Government’s welfare changes have caused confusion, anger and fear for many under-pressure families in our local communities – and have even attracted the critical attention of a United Nation’s Committee.
Today I am proud to publish the recommendations of a special Civic Forum for lone parent families I hosted at Leinster House earlier this year – not surprisingly the threat posed by the welfare changes loomed large but there are also other more wide-ranging proposals which require action. Even at this late stage I am asking Ministers to listen to the voices of those I brought to Leinster House.
By acting now we can reverse the unfairness of the current changes and also ensure that supports and opportunities are provided which are of a standard to be expected in a modern European democracy.”
Please download the 'Civic Forum on One Parent Families - Outcome Report' here