Poverty among working lone parents has more than doubled in five years, according to a new study by the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP). The report, Working, Parenting and Struggling, found one in 11 working lone parents were living below the poverty line in 2012. But that figure jumped to one in five by 2017.
The report also shows that the living standards of lone parents in Ireland are among the worst in Europe, with the second highest rates of income poverty, persistent poverty and severe deprivation among EU-15 countries.
SVP social policy development officer Tricia Keilthy, who wrote the report, said many families are struggling to make ends meet due to high housing and childcare costs combined with low incomes. “These factors significantly reduce the standard of living of working lone parents, who face additional challenges as both the primary earner and primary care-giver for their families,” she said.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar disputed the report, saying that figures from the Central Statistics Office show consistent poverty and deprivation among lone parents had reduced in the last four years.
SVP National President Kieran Stafford noted a number of welcome improvements in Budget 2019, including income supports for lone parents and the introduction of the affordable childcare scheme.
However, he added “this report shows Ireland has a long way to go in creating pathways to sustainable, decent and family friendly employment which will address the growing issue of in-work poverty among lone parents.”
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