Date Released: 13 November 2012
New figures from the Department of Social Protection have shown a dramatic fall in the participation rate of lone parents in Community Employment (CE) schemes, according to SIPTU. Replying to a parliamentary question on 8th November Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, confirmed that just 3060 lone parents were working on such schemes to the end of September this year, compared to 4508 for the same period last year - a drop of 33%. This fall follows cuts to payments for lone parents in last December’s budget restricting them to a single payment while on CE, and making no allowance for costs such as childcare.
The drop off in participation by lone parents has had a particularly detrimental effect on community childcare schemes, many of which are supported through Community Employment.
SIPTU Community Sector Organiser Darragh O’Connor explained: “Lone parents have played a major role in the staffing and success of CE Childcare schemes, but this route out of welfare and back to work has effectively been closed due to budget cutbacks. It is ironic that in the wake of the ‘Yes’ vote in the Children’s referendum affordable community childcare services are struggling to survive because of these cuts.”
Reacting to the figures Stuart Duffin from One Family, Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families said: “Community Employment provided a gateway to work for many lone-parents. That gateway has narrowed following the cuts in last year’s budget which saw the poorest families and children becoming even poorer as a direct result of the ill-thought out changes. The Government needs to support the engagement of lone parents in community employment and help to make work pay for them and their families.”