The Health and Social Security Scrutiny Panel has decided to bring a Proposition to the States Assembly seeking to reinstate the single parent component of Income Support. The Panel's Proposition requests the Minister for Social Security and the Minister for Treasury and Resources to identify funding in order to reinstate the component until a sustainable funding stream can be identified in the next Medium Term Financial Plan. The Panel requests the Ministers to have regard to significant underspends in the Social Security Department's annual budgets, some of which have been transferred into the Annual Managed Expenditure (AME) Contingency.
The Panel's work included following up its recommendations made in its report - "Living on Low Income" (S.R.4/2016) - published on 7 September 2016. One of its recommendations was that the single parent component of Income Support should be reinstated as a matter of urgency. Although this recommendation was rejected by the Minister, analysis undertaken by the Panel shows that single parent families are one of the most vulnerable groups in the community.
The Chairman of the Panel, Deputy Richard Renouf, said:
"Since we presented our report on low income, which showed that single parents are one of the most vulnerable groups in our community, we are concerned that the financial assistance historically provided to single parents has now been taken away. Our enquiries have shown that the annual cost of reinstating the single parent component is approximately £2.3 million. Although we acknowledge this is a large amount to find, we also note the Social Security Department achieved savings of over £10 million in its budget last year, mostly as a result of a decrease in the number of benefit claimants."