Paying the Price: still ‘just about managing’?

Published on 21 September 2017


This report looks at single parents’ finances against a backdrop of austerity, and is the last from our ‘Paying the Price’ project.

The findings show that, despite record high single parent employment, many single parents face persistent financial insecurity. The research finds high living costs, welfare cuts and insecure, low-paid work all contribute to single parents struggling to make ends meet.

As a priority, the report calls the government to:

  • Ensure universal credit is fit for purpose
  • Improve childcare support for low-income families
  • End benefit cuts/suspension to incentivise work.

In the longer term, we want the government to make sure benefits keep pace with living costs, invest more in debt prevention and re-think wider welfare reforms.

Key findings

The report found single parents affected by three main issues:

  • Risk of debt: Most single parents are struggling, with many forced to borrow to make ends meet
  • Work isn’t enough: Working single parents struggling as much as those out of work
  • An uncertain future: Worsening economic conditions and harsh welfare cuts mean single parents are increasingly vulnerable.