Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD, of his intention to amend the Finance Bill at Committee Stage to allow for the Single Parent Tax Credit to be used by a non-primary carer in situations where the primary carer has no tax liability.
“Following the announcement of Budget 2014 last month, it was announced that the One Parent Family Tax Credit was to be replaced with a new Single Person Child Care Credit from 1st January 2014 and that the payment would be restricted to the primary carer only in accordance with current arrangements for child benefit.
“As an unintended consequence of this measure separated fathers would have been discriminated against; as the designated ‘principal carer’ is usually the mother. The proposed change did not take account of the increasing role fathers play in the care of their children.
“I was very pleased to hear the Finance Minister state in the Dáil yesterday that he would amend the Finance Bill to allow a change to his Budget proposal to replace the Single Parent Tax Credit. Having spoken to the Minister, he informs me that he will bring forward an amendment to the Finance Bill at Committee Stage which will allow the credit to be used by a non-primary carer in situations where the primary carer has no tax liability
In practical terms it will be of significant financial benefit to a great many people, mainly separated fathers, as it will mean that every family, regardless of its make-up, will be entitled to claim one benefit.
“There is a long way to go in terms of equality for separated fathers but this change provides certain recognition and affirmation of their position. In that sense it is progress and I congratulate the Minister on his decision. Most separated fathers, while not principal carers take a significant role in the care and welfare of their children, and it is my firm view that they need to be supported in this task.”