Single parents want to work yet Gingerbread’s research shows that sanctions can make it less likely for parents to achieve that goal. This report also shows the first signs that Universal Credit risks making this situation worse, as more single parents – including those with very young children and those who are in work – are subject to conditions that place them at risk of sanctions under the new benefit system.
While a full rethink of the current sanctions system is necessary, Gingerbread calls on urgent action from the government to:
Reduce financial penalties and introduce a ‘yellow card’ warning system
Suspend unrealistic job-seeking requirements, including for parents of three and four year olds until affordable and good quality childcare and flexible work is available locally
Overhaul claimant commitments so that they are transparent, flexible and appropriate to single parents’ needs
Focus on providing support rather than inflicting sanctions to better enable single parents to enter work such as assisting with upfront childcare costs.
Warnings and sanctions for single parents arise as a result of unrealistic and rigid job-seeking requirements under benefit rules, which fail to recognise single parents’ barriers to work (eg a lack of childcare or flexible work)
The promise of personalised support with new claimant commitments and Universal Credit has failed to materialise
Single parents end up with debts and have to rely on foodbanks and other emergency support when sanctioned – even if these are later overturned
Single parents are left unable to afford to travel to the jobcentre or interviews after a sanction – leaving them further from work
Sanctions (and warnings) cause considerable distress for parents worried about having the means to look after and care for their children while sanctioned.
The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.