According to various sources it is understood that almost 12,000 single parents will have their payment cut by up to €86 in a latest move planned by the government.
The move has outraged Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin who labeled the plans to cut the One Parent Family Payment for thousands of cash-strapped parents as “sneaky”. Mr Martin told reporters that the proposed cuts will be introduced on July 2nd, he also claimed that such proposals would be something Margaret Thatcher would impose and labeled it as right-wing move.
Under the new proposals the maximum age lone parents can claim will drop from 17 to just seven.
Mr Martin went onto say: “Many one-parent families depend on this payment to keep on top of their household budget but the changes which have been introduced year on year are placing an increased financial burden on them. “These eligibility changes, which will see the payment taken off some families, come on top of cuts to child benefit, reductions in the Back to School and Clothing Allowance and a new tax on maternity benefit. “Minister Joan Burton and her Government seem intent on attacking the most vulnerable, families in particular.”
It is believed such cuts will leave some 6,400 lone parents losing up to €36.50 per week, while 4,500 will lose up to €57 a week, and some 800 who are carers will lose a rather significant amount of €86 per week.
Meanwhile Aengus O’Snodaigh of Sinn Fein has strongly called on the Tanaiste Joan Burton to stop the proposed plans. Mr O’Snodaigh said: “Children in lone-parent households are being forced to go without heating in their home, or a warm coat or sufficient food. “How many more children will be forced to go without new clothes, a roast joint or a birthday party this summer when their mother’s weekly income suddenly drops? “These cuts will lead to more deprivation. These cuts will result in more families facing homelessness. I urge the Tanaiste to abandon her plan to lower the cut-off age to seven.”
Before 2012 parents were able to claim the allowance for children up to the age of 18, but the government have been steadily scaling down the age limit since the budget in 2012.