At this early stage of the year, I will not be drawn into speculation on the composition of the next Budget. However, I would stress that when focusing on reducing the deficit and returning sustainability to the public finances, it has been of vital importance to the Government to spread the burden of the adjustments in as fair and equitable a manner as possible, while also seeking to minimise their negative impact on economic growth. This strategy will also underpin Budget 2015.
As the Deputy may be aware, there a number of supports available for single parents both in the tax system and on the expenditure side. For example, in the tax system there is the Single Person Child Carer Tax Credit. The Department of Social Protection have a number of supports available for single parents such as Child Benefit, Family Income Supplement and the One-Parent Family Payment. In addition, there are also a number supports available to students which are generally based on their parent's income such as the student support and maintenance grants and the Student Assistance Fund.