Labour Party Conference 2022: Single Parents & Child Poverty – Put the Kids First

Posted 26 September 2022

Gingerbread are currently in Liverpool to attend the 2022 Labour Party Conference and encourage our political leaders to recognise the challenges that single parent families face, and to prioritise the support they need.


We were thrilled to be invited to Child Poverty Action Group’s (CPAG) event: ‘Put the kids first: how could a Labour government make child poverty a priority again?’


The event was chaired by The Times political columnist Rachel Sylvester and speakers included Gingerbread CEO Victoria Benson, CPAG CEO Alison Garnham, participant in the Covid Realities research programme Shirley Widdop, and Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson MP.


What do Gingerbread want to see happen to combat child poverty?


This is a crisis that can – and should – be mitigated for the UK’s poorest families. We would like to see all political parties commit to do more to support single parents and their children, namely:

  1. Uprating benefits to ensure families are supported by a social security system that is directly linked to inflation rates.


  1. There must be greater support for families in meeting the additional energy costs they are facing, particularly through existing schemes like the Warm Home Discount.


  1. There must be a longer-term review of Minimum Income – similar to the Minimum Wage Commission – to ensure families don’t fall further behind by ensuring our social security system adequately supports parents in meeting their living costs.

We want to see the end of this huge mismatch between what single parent families have and what they need to get by. This is not about luxuries. We used to talk about parents and families choosing between heating and eating, but we’re concerned about the number of single parent families who are being forced to consider whether they can do either.

The words of one single parent we spoke to about life for them and their children demonstrate the need for our political leaders to do more:

“My children don’t ever go without but I will. This week I have only eaten one cheese sandwich in three days…. I don’t eat regularly, I use free sites for clothes, shoes, and to replace furniture, don’t use heating in my bedroom, don’t smoke or drink, don’t have a social life but this way, my kids have everything that they need and they don’t go without.”