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Almost half of single parents living in poverty

  • 01/06/2016
  • Author:MartinKitara

Poverty rates for lone parents set to rise between now and 2020

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Almost half (46%) of children from single parent families live in relative poverty, according to analysis from the charity Gingerbread.

The analysis paints an equally bleak picture across the country with over two-fifths (41%) of single parents earning less than 60 percent of the UK average.

According to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, these figures are set to increase – the poverty rates for single parents will almost double between now and 2020.

Turn2us research for #BenefitsAware

Similarly, our research released as part of the #BenefitsAware Campaign found that almost half (48%) of low income households are not claiming the welfare benefits and tax credits they could be entitled to. This is despite the fact that a huge 87% of this group have seen no improvement to their financial situation over the last year.

Our findings uncover some of the reasons why these low income households may not be claiming this support. Of those with children, two-fifths (40%) said they had been deterred from checking or claiming potential benefits entitlements because they did not think they would be eligible.

In addition, over a fifth (22%) of families surveyed by Turn2us said they were unsure of how or where to find out about this help, whilst one in six (16%) feel that recent welfare benefit changes have made it too difficult to apply. As a result, over two-thirds (68%) have not checked what welfare benefits they could be entitled to within the last year.

“Not enough is being done for thousands of families”

Fiona Weir, Chief Executive of Gingerbread, said:  “It is shameful that in a country as wealthy as Britain, almost half of children in single parent families live below the poverty line.

“While the government rightly focuses its attention on the long awaited Life Chances Strategy, the concern is that not enough is being done for thousands of families. Single parent families don’t just need lifting out of poverty; they need measures in place to stop that figure doubling over the next four years.

“Work continues to offer the best route out of poverty, a lack of flexible jobs, coupled with high childcare and housing costs, mean that single parents are in an increasingly perilous position. And it is children that will bear the brunt of that.”

Gingerbread believes that there are positive signs that the Life Chances strategy will be comprehensive and tackle the underlying causes of poverty as well as some of the implications. This will include drawing on the Department of Work and Pensions commissioned research published by the Early Intervention Foundation. This firmly adds to the evidence that suggests it is the quality of family relationships that matters to children’s life chances regardless of family structure.

Find out more about our #BenefitsAwareness Campaign 

Source: Gingerbread press release: Almost half of single parents living in poverty

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