Thursday 22 February 2018

Government urged to end 'Burton cut' to lone parents

Taoiseach insists it will help women “escape poverty trap”

Micheal Martin
Micheal Martin
John Downing

John Downing

CUTS to lone parents’ payments are “straight out of Margaret Thatcher’s book of policies,” Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin told the Dáil.

Mr Martin urged the Government to reverse changes to the lone parent support scheme, another phase of which are due to take effect on July 1.

The Fianna Fáil leader described the changes as the “Burton cuts” as they are being implemented by Social Protection Minister and Labour leader Joan Burton.

Mr Martin said the changes were especially hard on single working mothers, citing the example of a mother working 20 hours per week who will lose €108 per week.

“Go out and meet the people affected by these cuts because you’re out of touch,” Mr Martin told the Taoiseach.

Mr Kenny said the changes were aimed at helping single parent families to get out of the poverty trap. He said that up to now mothers got payments for children up to 18 years of age – and up to 22 years where the children were in full-time education.

The Taoiseach said 30,000 single mothers would benefit in the medium and longer-term from the changes.  He said 20,000 of these parents would have no change or actually gain while the remaining 10,000 had the chance to increase the numbers of hours per week that they work.

“Ireland’s supports for single parents have been out of line with international norms,” he said.

Mr Kenny said New Zealand and Netherlands each end the payment when the child is five years old.

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