Call for government to tackle poverty epidemic among single parent families

By agency reporter
December 20, 2019

Gingerbread is calling for urgent action to reduce poverty among single parent families through policies that improve living standards for the one in four UK families headed by single parents.

Currently 49 per cent of children in single parent families are in poverty, almost double the proportion of children in couple families; a sharp rise that has been driven by years of policy choices that do not recognise the needs of diverse families. Without proper change, this will get worse – single parents are expected to lose an average of £3,800 of their annual net income by 2021/22 as a result of 2010-17 tax and benefit reforms, the biggest loss of all household types in the UK.

Gingerbread’s single parent manifesto sets out the four priority areas in which the Conservative government must now take action to turn this rising tide:

  • Make childcare work for single parents
  • Create a supportive welfare system
  • Support single parents to enter and progress in work
  • Make the Child Maintenance Service fit for purpose

Victoria Benson, Gingerbread Chief Executive said: “With the election results now in, we must look ahead to the future we want to create for the 1.8 million single parent families in the UK, many of whom are struggling to put food on the table or provide school shoes for their children. Record numbers of single parents are in work but a lack of flexible work, the insecurity of Universal Credit, a costly childcare system and an ill-functioning Child Maintenance Service mean that work is not a route out of poverty.

“Our research shows that there are practical steps that the new Prime Minister and his government can take to improve the lives of single parents and their children. We look forward to working with the government to ensure single parents’ voices are heard, and to give diverse families the opportunities and support they need to thrive, not just survive.”

* Gingerbread https://www.gingerbread.org.uk/

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