Universal Credit, the government’s new benefit system, is replacing many in and out of work benefits. Once fully rolled out, by December 2023, nearly all of the UK’s two million single parents will be eligible to receive Universal Credit. It’s therefore crucial the government lives up to its promise to ‘make work pay’.

We spoke to single parents to find out about their experience of Universal Credit. Read our research here.

Why the campaign matters

Many single parents will, be financially worse off as a result of Universal Credit – whether working or not. Some single parents already receiving Universal Credit are facing forced evictions and struggling to afford the basics – we need your help to change this.

What we’re campaigning for

Universal Credit needs to change to ensure financial security for all families. The experiences of single parents already on Universal Credit highlight significant problems with both its design and delivery.

We’re calling on the government to implement a number of changes:

  • Reduce in-built delays – we welcome the Chancellor’s decision to scrap the seven-day waiting period and more recently announcements to improve the advance payment system. However, these advance payments are still loans which must be repaid; there is still a significant wait to receive your first proper payment
  • Suspend new job seeking requirements for parents of three and four year olds, until affordable and good quality childcare and flexible work is available locally
  • Reform the Universal Credit childcare support offer: so that parents don’t need to pay their childcare costs upfront and: and by removing the administrative burden on parents to provide receipts.
  • Promote and widen flexibility to reflect families’ circumstances – including better access to fortnightly payments and ways to manage fluctuating income fairly (e.g. when self-employed)
  • Ensure entitlements are clear and single parents’ needs are recognised in claimant commitments

Take action

If you’re a single parent facing financial difficulties as a result of Universal Credit, write to your MP and explain challenges you are facing. It’s important your MP understands the impact Universal Credit is having on your family.

If you would like to share your experience of Universal Credit in the media and more widely, you could become a Gingerbread Spokesperson on the issue. Get in touch with us at campaign@gingerbread.org.uk to arrange a chat.

Take action