Single Parents

The coalition wants to encourage people out to work, however according to research published yesterday, under the coalition’s overhaul of the benefits system, Save the Children is claiming many children could be left in poverty as a result. Low paid single mothers who want to work longer hours will be hit the worst under the Government’s plans to streamline the benefits system.

Under the Government’s new Universal credit system an impact assessment by Save the children has showed that while up to 600,000 families would be better off, up to 1.1 million households with children are likely to see lower entitlements. Working single mothers could lose up to £68 a week which equates to £3,500 a year as a result and could end up pushing them below the breadline.

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Save the Children’s Chief executive Justin Forsyth said: “Universal Credit will help some families but mums working hard to stay above the breadline are its big blind spot. It’s incredibly hard bringing up three kids on £370 a week. Losing almost a fifth of that will push many families over the edge.”

“The Government must make sure mums who want to work keep more of their incomes and get more support with childcare. Otherwise we’ll see fewer women in the workplace and more children growing up in poverty.”

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “Save the Children are wrong to assert that lone parents will lose as a result of the introduction of Universal Credit – the truth is 600,000 lone parents will be better off under a system which will incentivise work and make work pay.”

Shadow employment minister Stephen Timms said: “The Government must work harder to get Universal Credit right.”

“The best way to get children out of poverty is to get more parents in work. But, as this report shows, their current plans will lock in a parents’ penalty, chip away at the incentives for thousands to work and push 150,000 working parents deeper into poverty.”

The report also claimed second earners will be affected. A typical couple with three children where one parent works 24 hours a week and the other works a just a few hours on low pay could lose as much as £1,800 a year (£35 a week).

Save the Children is urging the Chancellor George Osborne to take action in next week’s Budget to head off the problems and ensure that single mothers keep more of their income before losing benefits.

How can the government support single parents better?