Green Party Spokesperson for Social Protection Marc Ó Cathasaigh TD welcomes Budget 2021, which he believes will protect the vulnerable and lead to a green recovery. Deputy Ó Cathasaigh outlined the measures that will help children of lone parents, lone parents themselves and those who live alone:
“I am very proud of Budget 2021 because of how much it focuses on the specific cohorts who need extra help at this stage. The Green Party has a very strong social justice focus and we fought for many of the measures in today’s budget. As a former teacher, I would be very much aware of the effects of poverty on children and I welcome the Social Protection provisions announced today which will have a very significant impact on this group. The extension of the Hot School Meals scheme by €5.5 million which will bring hot meals to an extra 35,000 children will have a huge impact on these children’s lives.
“Other significant measures for lone parents and vulnerable families include a €5 increase for qualifying children over 12 and a €2 increase for qualifying children under 12, the removal of the €425 limit for the One Parent Family Allowance, the increase of €10 in the threshold for the Working Family Payment, the increase of 3 weeks in Parents Benefit and the once-off €250 payment to Third Level students
“People living alone, mostly elderly people, have suffered greatly in the last few months. The loneliness and isolation have had an impact but they have also had increased costs. Today’s budget will go some of the way in addressing these with an increase of €2,000 in the Widow or Surviving Partner Grant, an increase of €5 per week in the Living Alone Allowance, an increase of €3.30 per week in the Fuel Allowance (which translates to €112 per year with the retention of the 4 week extension of the Fuel Allowance) and an increase of €2,000 in the Widow or Surviving Partner Grant.”
In relation to the Carbon Tax suite of measures announced today that set out a pathway for carbon pricing over the next decade, Deputy Ó Cathasaigh said:
“In line with ESRI recommendations, the increase in carbon tax as set out today has been constructed to be progressive and socially just. The funds raised from it have been directed to the most vulnerable directly contributing to increases in the Living Alone Allowance, the Qualifying Child Payment and the Fuel Allowance. In plain terms, this will improve the lives of one in five households and one in five of those on lowest incomes”
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