Drastic income shortfalls faced by working single parents
Working single parents on reasonable pay cannot reach a minimum acceptable living standard – as defined by the public – even if they work full time, new research for Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) shows.
A toxic mix of the freeze on working age benefits, cuts to tax credits and universal credit, stagnant wages and sharp rises in the cost of some essential foods, public transport, domestic fuel, council tax and childcare, have left all families on the ‘national living wage short of what they need for a basic, socially acceptable living standard – but single parents have fared worst, the research finds.
Satwat Rehman, Director OPFS said of the research launched today:
“Welfare reform has been the key cause of increasing child poverty in single parent families. The shocking findings in this report by CPAG confirms our experience. We see a step change in the poverty facing many families who have been transferred to Universal Credit. Delays in payments, administrative errors and problems with childcare payment for parents in paid work have left some families almost destitute. Even parents in work are being forced to go to foodbanks and in one case a local nursery in Glasgow has been feeding children because their parent is penniless.
Hunger, anxiety, shame – the universal credit ‘catastrophe’ is hitting single parents hardest of all. We believe that now is the time for a fundamental review of the purpose of Universal Credit with a view to re-balancing the focus on meeting the needs of people as opposed to delivering value for money; focusing on the needs of the most vulnerable as much as it focuses on getting people back to work. Universal Credit can no longer be seen as a benign attempt to simplify the benefits system.”