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People Before Profit Alliance calls on Minister Burton to act on lone parents immediately.
Ireland's history of its treatment of single mothers is shameful. Despite the closure of Magadelene laundries, the politics of shaming lone parents has continued. Ireland should not just be ashamed of its past treatment of lone parents, but also its present day treatment. It is a national disgrace that up to 63% of one parent families suffer two or more forms of deprivation on a regular basis. Consistent poverty in one parent families is 23% compared to 8.2% in the general population. To get away with keeping lone parents in poverty, past and present Governments along with the media have portrayed single mothers as a burden on society.
There have been multiple cuts to lone parents' benefits including the cuts in rent allowance and back to school allowance and loss of Christmas bonus since the crisis. Since Budget 2011 implemented by Minister Joan Burton, lone parents have seen Community Employment Schemes slashed, cuts in income disregard and SUSI grants. Despite the Governments talk of recovery a lone parent working 20 hours on minimum wage will lose €108 a week by 2017. There is no recovery for our poorest families, only more suffering. On July 2nd this year 32,000 lone parents will be cut off from their One Parent Family Payment when their youngest child is 7 years old, and by the end of this year this will rise 40,000 parents. Already 9000 lone parents have lost their payment. Ireland has the highest childcare costs, and for a one parent family this could be 53% of their net income. All of these changes are happening without delivery of the promised Scandinavian childcare system.
Answers to written questions from People Before Profit Alliance councillors revealed that over a third of housing and homeless lists in all Dublin’s councils are one parent families.
As 98% of lone parents are women this is clearly a gendered attack, but for those men parenting alone they also will suffer from these cuts. At the core of these cuts are thousands of children condemned to poverty, because Minister Burton sees their parents as the scapegoats for our economic crisis. To Labour and Fine Gael single mothers were an easy target.
For the past four years Minister Joan Burton has created a false stereotype of single parents. When she introduced her budget, 61% of lone parents were in some form of employment. Since the cuts in income disregard 36% of lone parents are now employed. This drop of those in work show that her policy is drastically failing.
Working part-time for many parents was an ideal option to allow them parent, and avoid childcare costs by working when children are in school. The Government has relied on the neo-liberal mantra that a job is the best way out of poverty. We only have to see the Dunnes Stores workers out on strike to know this is not true. The route out of poverty is having a living not minimum wage, combined with all the necessary supports such as childcare. As providing care does not create profit, it is not valued by our Government.
Labour have been very keen to use the recent marriage referendum to promote themselves as the party that champions equality. SPARK, a campaign group of single parents has been flagging #YesChildEquality calling and pleading with the Government to recognise their families as equal. For the 'unmarried' family our constitution still fails to recognise them. However, despite this in the constitution the decision to cruelly cut and attack lone parents should never have been an option for any politician our Government.
People Before Profit as an immediate call ask Minister Joan Burton to reverse these cuts. We also call on this Government and future Governments to equality and gender proof budgets.
We need a real plan to provide childcare, not for profit, but an affordable childcare system provided by the state. The race to the bottom in wages and work conditions particularly for women must be stopped and dramatically changed. We need to really tackle poverty by having a society that values the role of care by a parent, and provides our children with all the supports they need from education, childcare, housing to health. We need to put our children and families before profit.
If you agree and want to join People Before Profit text JOIN to 0872839964
Join the National Women's Council of Ireland at the SPARK protest at the Dail Gates tomorrow Wednesday 10th June at 3.30pm.
We are asking people to stand up for our children and help stop these savage measures.
You can support us in the following ways:
1. Attend the protest.
2. Share the event through social media using the hashtag #YeschildequalityJune10
3. Join in the discussion and encourage family and friends to support our children.
4. Make a short video (no longer than 1 min. ) on why you are standing up for our children and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can upload it to our YouTube channel annd use in our campaign.
5. Lobby your public representative to reverse these cuts.
Starts: 10 June 2015 15:30
Ends: 10 June 2015 16:30
Location: Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2
and please join us afterwards for a
People Before Profit Alliance public meeting
in Fixx Cafe on the corner of Molesworth Street and Dawson Street at 5pm, speakers include Leah Speight and Cllr Brid Smith from the People Before Profit Alliance, all welcome!
People Before Profit