Paying the price: single parents in the age of austerity

Published on 17 December 2013

Summary

This is the first in our ‘Paying the Price’ reports tracking single parents’ finances in the age of austerity. The report looks at how single parents are coping with their household finances, and finds that many – if not most – are struggling to cover essential bills. Welfare reform and high living costs are having a significant impact on single parent finances. If policymakers are serious about “a fairer and more affordable” safety net, a greater engagement with these real-life consequences of austerity is urgently needed.

Key findings

  • Single parents surveyed are struggling to cover their household bills, with many currently in arrears on regular payments – particularly on essential items such as rent/mortgage and utilities bills
  • External factors (eg rising living costs, welfare cuts, and barriers to earning more to make up for income losses) have placed significant pressures on single parents’ incomes
  • Single parents are proving incredibly resilient during difficult financial times by using different coping strategies to deal with lower incomes, but this is often not enough – many have had to borrow to make ends meet
  • By the end of 2013/14, less than 60 per cent of welfare cuts will have been implemented, so there is yet more financial pain to come.