A new research report has highlighted the extent to which many thousands of single parents throughout the UK struggle to escape poverty while bringing up their children.
According to the study conducted by the Gingerbread charity, around 47 per cent of children who grow up in single parent families do so against a backdrop of relative poverty.
The charity notes that this figure is below the comparative number for 1995/96 when 61 per cent of children with lone parents were believed to be living in poverty.
But the figures also suggest that the prevalence of poverty among single parent families increased over the course of the years 2014/15 and 2015/16.
In recent years, persistent poverty is believed to have affected single parents far more commonly on a proportional basis than families with two parents.
On the plus side, Gingerbread’s figures suggest that employment levels among single parents in the UK are now at a record high of 68 per cent.
However, the charity says that many people still find it very difficult to establish financial stability and avoid problems with debt.
Covering childcare costs is a common problem among the 1.7 million single parents in Britain but so too are low wages and the insecurity of certain jobs and professions, Gingerbread’s report makes very clear.
The charity’s research found that close to half of the single parents that took part in its surveys said they would rarely or never find themselves with spare money at the end of each month after their essential bills were paid off.
Many thousands of single parents are known to be indebted, which in many cases is the result of having to cover the costs of separating from a partner but can also simply be the result of trying to manage financially on a low income.
Gingerbread’s chief executive Rosie Ferguson wants to see workplaces become more welcoming to and accommodating of single parents.
“Single parents are being let down at the moment – there’s absolutely no reason why single parents and their children shouldn’t be able to participate fully in the economy but they are twice as likely to be living in poverty as children in couple families,” she said.“I think that’s a result of the fact that our workforce is not friendly or accessible to people with families.”
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