I urge Minister Regina Doherty to wake up to the reality faced by single parents who are employed but are living in poverty. St. Vincent de Paul (SVP) released a report today which finds that poverty doubled among working lone parents between 2012 and 2017.
The Government has consistently failed lone parents and their children in the areas of income support, child maintenance, childcare costs and housing.
It should come as great shame to this Government that the SVP report also finds that living standards for lone parents in Ireland are among the worst in Europe.
We have the second highest rates of income poverty, persistent poverty and severe deprivation among fifteen EU countries.
One of the recommendations included in the SVP report is to benchmark social welfare (such as the Jobseekers Transition Payment and Working Family Payment) to the cost of a Minimum Standard of Living to ensure adequate income.
Sinn Féin introduced legislation to this effect last year, and I again call on Minister Doherty to consider this as one way in which we can lift lone parent families out of poverty.
There are also a number of short-term recommendations in this report which could be taken immediately by Minister Doherty such as extending the cut off age for the Jobseekers Transition Payment until the youngest child is 18 to assist lone parents in ensuring that they are actually better off at work.
The Minister needs to take action on the recommendations put forward in this report.
There is no denying that too many lone parent families are living in poverty and what is most alarming is that these are lone parents who are at work or in education.
The solutions for assisting lone parents and their children are there. Minister Doherty needs to action to implement them now.
Read the SVP Report here.