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Saturday 20 September 2014

Burton's benefit cut 'will take food off tables'

Published 19/06/2014 | 02:30

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FAMILY: Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton

SOCIAL Protection Minister Joan Burton has come under-fire from single mothers who claim their income will be slashed by €70 a week due to a forthcoming cut.

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Minster Burton was also accused of "taking the food off the table" of disadvantaged families and targeting women with cuts.

More than 9,100 single parents will have their One Parent Family Payment snatched from them at the start of the month.

And next year, Ms Burton, who is running for leadership of the Labour Party, intends taking the payment from all families with children over seven-years-old.

Most of those losing the payment will be transferred to Jobseekers Allowance, while others will receive Family Income Supplement payments or the Carer's Allowance payment.

However, the National Lone Parent Family Network claims working single parents will be forced to give up work because of the cut.

The group claims a single parent working 20 hours a week on the minimum wage were earning €442.48 when social welfare benefits were taken into account.

But when the cut was introduced, this was slashed to €372.80, which is an annual loss of more than€3,600.

The group's spokeswoman Michelle Frawley said single parents are better off not working when childcare and the cost of travelling to work are calculated into household budgets.

Independent Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames said the cut was "taking food off the table for an already proven to be disadvantaged group".

"This is driving a group, which is widely accepted as being most at risk of falling into poverty, deeper into the poverty trap," she added.

A spokesman for Ms Burton said the reforms were aimed at getting single parents back to work or into further education schemes.

He also said there are two subsidised childcare schemes available to working single parents.

Irish Independent

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