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Posted on Tuesday 20 September 2022 in Press Releases, Advocacy
The National One Parent Family Alliance (NOPFA) is today calling on Government to protect one parent families in Budget 2023. One parent families are at the highest risk of poverty with the lowest levels of disposable income, many of whom were struggling before the cost of living crisis. The National One Parent Family Alliance comprises ten national organisations including Barnardos, Children’s Rights Alliance, One Family, Family Resource Centre National Forum, FLAC, Focus Ireland, National Women’s Council, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, SPARK, and Treoir.
For many lone parent families, inflation has meant that stretched low incomes can no longer cover essential costs. As a result, they are having to choose between and often go without certain daily necessities like heat, food and electricity. As prices continue to rise and winter arrives there is a risk that tens of thousands more lone parent families will be pulled into deprivation.
Karen Kiernan, CEO of One Family and Chair of the National One Parent Family Alliance said: ‘Now is the time to stop children falling deeper into poverty - Budget 2023 can provide an anchor to one-parent families through the implementation of targeted supports aimed at those most in need.’
Suzanne Connolly, Barnardos CEO said: ‘Almost 40% of the children Barnardos supports are living in one parent families. We have real concerns about their vulnerability to continuing price increases and their ability to avoid deprivation. Some lone parents are already describing taking drastic measures to provide food and electricity for their children, while losing sleep thinking about how they are going to be able to ‘survive this winter’. The Government needs to act in Budget 2023 to protect these families, the longer children live in deprivation the worse an impact it has on their wellbeing and development.’
The Government must do the right thing and target resources in Budget 2023 at preventing this and protecting lone parent families from poverty. The Alliance believes introducing the following measures would go some way to achieving this:
“All the evidence shows that children in one parent families are at an alarmingly high risk of poverty, and a much greater risk than their peers. The Government has all of the intelligence and insight it needs to identify the children that need more targeted supports in Budget 2023. Government needs to increase the Qualified Child Increase. We have seen this play out with the other measures, for example the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance. It is a case of political will whether this Budget delivers key income measures for children in lone-parent families,” said Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance.
Tricia Keilthy, Head of Social Justice and Policy at SVP said: ‘Even before energy prices started to rise dramatically, a third of one parent families were in deep energy poverty. For too many families this means turning off the heating for fear of the next bill, accounts falling into arrears, not having money to put on the prepayment meter or cutting back on meals to save money for heating. This situation will only get worse unless there is targeted intervention from the Government. Increasing the Fuel Allowance and expanding it to those in receipt of the Working Family Payment is the best way to ensure the poorest families can keep the heating and lights on this winter.”
To see the full pre-budget submission please click this link