06 October 2021
Supporting lone parents in Budget 2022 is critical to reducing poverty according to Treoir, the National Federation for Unmarried Parents and their Children.
Speaking at the launch of its pre-budget submission Treoir CEO Damien Peelo said, “When it comes to housing, social welfare, life chances, access to the labour market and overall standard of living lone parents are consistently at the lower rung of almost all socio-economic indicators.”
“Inequalities have worsened in Ireland due to the pandemic and this budget is an opportunity for the government to remedy key issues such as housing, welfare and childcare that disproportionately impact lone parents.”
Across many countries in the EU housing is a basic human right and an important foundation in sustaining family and community life. In Ireland, lone-parent families are overrepresented in homeless figures, housing waiting lists, and in the private rented accommodation sector and have low homeownership rates. HAP payments provide an insecure accommodation.1 The onus is now on the government to provide an immediate intervention to address this emergency and to ensure that lone parents and their children live in decent, secure, long-term accommodation.
Treoir is calling on the government to reinstate the single parent tax credit and increase core social welfare payments to lift children in unmarried parent households out of poverty. The National Minimum Wage (NMW) and social welfare payments should be benchmarked to the cost of a Minimum Essential Standard of Living so everyone can access an adequate income.
Ireland’s childcare costs are some of the most expensive in the world and this is felt most acutely by unmarried parents.2 Ireland spends 0.2% of GDP on pre-primary education compared to the OECD average of 0.8%. For a just recovery post-pandemic, the government must substantially increase its investment in childcare in Budget 2022 to match the OECD average by 2025.
The government must increase the allocation for the state’s civil legal aid budget. Access to justice is a cornerstone of our democracy and unmarried parents should not be burdened with the worry of having to self-represent due to outdated income thresholds. The state must properly resource an Alternative Dispute Resolution System in the courts to foster shared parenting and to prevent exacerbating tensions between vulnerable parents. The Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Pension should be extended to all cohabiting couples.
The upcoming Budget is an opportunity for the government to address inequality and child poverty by investing in the issues that most affect unmarried families, namely housing, a public childcare model, and a guaranteed standard of living.
Read our full pre-budget submission, here.
(1) ESRI & Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission, ‘Monitoring Adequate Housing in Ireland’, September 14, 2021. Monitoring adequate housing in Ireland | ESRI
(2) Ciara O’Loughlin, The Independent, June 18, 2021, Crippling cost of childcare revealed as Ireland among most expensive countries in world, Unicef report shows – Independent.ie