Thursday, 16 February 2012
SIPTU Community Campaign joins S.P.A.R.K. to support lone parents
Press Release: 16th February 2012
The SIPTU Community Campaign joined S.P.A.R.K. at a press launch on Thursday (16th February) to highlight the effect of Budget 2012 on lone parents.
The S.P.A.R.K. Campaign (Single Parents Acting for the Right of Kids) is a diverse group of lone parents who have united to protect children from the effects of Budget 2012. Among the wide range of organisations supporting the S.P.A.R.K. Campaign is the SIPTU Community Campaign, OPEN, One Parent and Treoir.
SIPTU Organiser, Paul Hansard, said; “While Budget 2012 affected lone parents in a number of ways, its impact on Community Employment (CE) is of grave concern. Not only have the opportunity for lone parents to avail of work and training through CE been effectively cut off but there will certainly be an impact on the delivery of local services such as community childcare.”
There are approximately 5,000 lone parents working in CE, providing them with employment and training opportunities. CE also enables lone parents to work in their local communities, providing vital services such as childcare, eldercare, meals on wheels and after school care.
Liz Ryan, a lone parent and CE worker in Dublin, said; “CE has been brilliant for me; it’s given me the chance to work, get training and be active within my community. I don’t know what I would have done without CE or what women in my situation will do in the future.”
Budget 2012 has affected lone parents on CE in a number of ways. New entrants to CE will no longer be entitled to their Single Parent Family Allowance on top of their income from the scheme. In practice, this makes CE a financially unviable option for lone parents as all household expenses, including childcare costs, must come out of this payment.
From Monday next (20th February), lone parents currently on CE will see a cut in their child dependent allowance. For a parent of three children, this will mean a drop in income of €51.90.
Paul Hansard added; “We are already hearing examples of CE schemes that can no longer recruit lone parents because it has become financially impossible for them to take up a position. This will have a knock-on effect on services like community childcare in the coming months as they struggle to fill positions previously held by lone parents”.
Community Childcare provides high quality childcare in areas of disadvantage at an affordable cost. There are approximately 2,100 CE workers working in this area, many of them are lone parents.
Paul Hansard added; “We are calling on the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton. to reassess the changes to lone parent payments in light of their impact on community services. Furthermore, we call on Minister of State for Children, Frances Fitzgerald, to ensure that community projects that support children with childcare and after schools services remain viable with well-trained staff.