One parent families have a high risk of poverty and yet they have been the target for some of the deepest cuts to income supports and services over the past number of years . In 2011 more than half of all one parent families in Ireland had to go without essentials such as adequate heating for the home, substantial meals, and appropriate clothing and footwear because they were unable to afford them
Hundreds of mothers and fathers who are struggling on a low income, particularly lone parents, contact the SVP for help every month. Many of these parents are finding it difficult to juggle the cost of food, energy bills, education, childcare and celebrations like First Communion, Christmas and birthdays. The lone parents we help are doing one of the most difficult jobs of all – that of raising children on a low income on their own.
Our volunteers see the energy and determination of lone parents who return to education or training in order to increase their chances of finding employment that will give their family a better standard of living. SVP is supportive of measures which would help all parents to access quality employment that will lift them out of poverty and which allows paid work to be balanced with caring responsibilities. However, the cuts and changes to the supports available to people parenting alone only serve to undermine this ambition.
Lone parents in work on a low income will be worse off as a result of the changes to the One Parent Family Payment, which include reducing the earnings disregard and restricting eligibility for the One Parent Family Payment to parents whose youngest child is aged 7 or below. People parenting alone who are not in employment will find it more difficult to move into work as the features of the One Parent Family Payment which helped to make work pay for lone parents in low paid work have now been abolished.
As part of our work we are carrying out research with some of the one parent families who have been helped by the SVP to find out about the reality of parenting alone on a low income. We want to improve the services we provide to one parent families so we are asking those of you who are lone parents and who have been helped by the SVP to share your experience anonymously by completing our survey. Please help us by filling in the survey and by sharing it with anyone you think might be interested- it should only take 10 minutes to complete. We need your voice.