People Before Profit TD, Gino Kenny, who is a member of the Daíl Social Protection Committee has called on Leo Varadkar to end the lies about lone parents and to immediately act on the recommendations of the Millar Report.
The long awaited report, commissioned by the Department of Social Protection- conducted by Michelle Millar, proves the complete failure of lone parent reforms.
Gino Kenny said, “This week Minister Varadkar claimed on national radio that the lone parents allowance were not cut, to be later proven wrong by The Journal Fact-Check. Now Varakdar’s government activation policy on lone parents has been shown up by the Millar report originally directed by the then Minster, Joan Burton. In the opening paragraph it states that an activation policy was a condition introduced by the Troika bailout in 2013 to save money on social welfare spending.
“People Before Profit has always said that this was about cuts and not reforms to benefit one parent families. Varadkar’s department was hoping that by directing a report to find best activation measures for lone parents they could justify their reforms to the One Parent Family Payment.
“The detailed report’s key points prove the failures of this activation policy as lone parents in part time employment ended up financially worse off. The studies in the report showed that a ‘one size fit all’ treatment of lone parents does not work. It found this one size fits all approach does not treat all families equal, lone parents were vulnerable and stigmatized. Many of the concerns People Before Profit have, that this report flagged, such as older children left without parental guidance could mean more risk-taking behaviour, exacerbating the difficulties experienced by lone parents, and the poverty of lone parent families have been realised. A distinct lack of awareness of the reality of the lives of lone parents was a key point that came out of the report.
“I am now calling on the Minster to take immediate action on foot of the recommendations and findings of this report. His government have to stop lying about these reforms. They were not about improvements for lone parents. They were directed by the Troika to make savings and lone parents were the victims as they were easy to stigmatise under the guise of activation. Not only would I call on him to admit they were wrong and to take action, I think he owes many lone parent families an apology.
“I expect the independents that were vocal before the elections about lone parent cuts to prioritise child poverty by addressing lone parent cuts. In particular Minister Zappone who, in April 2015, did not allow her proposals on lone parents to go to a vote in the Seanad to await the findings of the Millar Report. I ask her now, in her capacity as Minister for Children, what she is going to do? Or will she remain silent now she is in government?”