Manx Labour leader reflects on Tynwald vote
The leader of the Manx Labour Party says the changes to Employed Person's Allowance, voted through in Tynwald this week, "signify the direction of travel of the treasury department."
Prior to this week's sitting, the party expressed concern about the proposed changes to EPA rules and eligibility.
In fact, it described the move as an 'assault on the poor'.
More than 1,200 workers claim EPA, and government estimates up to 50 lone parents, and as many as 100 couples with children will be affected by the changes.
Currently, a lone parent needs to work at least 16 hours a week to qualify for the benefit. For couples, one or more must work at least 30 hours a week.
At present these hours cannot be combined, regardless of the child's age.
Treasury Minister Alf Cannan proposed the following changes to qualify for the benefit:
Couples with a child under six will be able to combine their hours, but must work at least 35 hours in total.
Couples with their youngest child over six will be able to combine hours, but must work at least 48 hours a week.
Lone parents with an only child aged over 13 must work at least 24 hours a week.
Treasury states exceptions for disabilities, caring responsibilities, sickness, pregnancy and bereavement are provided for.
In Tynwald this week, the proposals were voted for by the court - with just four MHKs voting against them - meaning they will come into effect next summer.
Back to the Manx Labour Party - does its leader, David Cretney MLC, still hold concerns about the changes?
He spoke to Dollin Mercer: