Gingerbread response to the Queen’s Speech – welfare and childcare

Posted 27 May 2015

Gingerbread’s Chief Executive Fiona Weir discusses impact of Queen’s Speech on single parents.

Gingerbread Chief Executive Fiona Weir said:

Full Employment and Welfare Bill

“With more than one in five single parents working full time still in poverty [1], we support the government’s aim to ensure it always pays to work. That’s why reporting on employment rates must also look at whether those jobs are helping families out of poverty. Today’s announcement of a real-terms cut to tax credits and child benefit make it even more important that support is in place to ensure jobs offer a route out of poverty to a decent standard of living.

“More than 60 per cent of households hit by the benefit cap are single parent families, and 70 per cent of those have children under five [2]. Lowering the cap is likely to hit even more of these single parents with pre-school children and we are calling for the government to exempt them from the cap to prevent deeper child poverty.”

Childcare Bill

“The cost of childcare is one of the biggest barriers single parents face to finding and staying in work. 30 free hours of childcare a week is really good news for parents of three and four year old children. We look forward to seeing more detail on how parents will qualify for this extra support.

“Almost half of the single parents we surveyed have had to borrow money to meet childcare costs in the last two years [3] and we know the difficulties don’t end once your child starts school.

“Support for low-income families must be prioritised. The government has committed to support with 85 per cent of childcare costs under universal credit, but we’re calling for this to be introduced under tax credits and at the same time as tax-free childcare this autumn. The full rollout of universal credit is delayed until 2019 and low-income families simply can’t afford to wait.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:
[1] 22 per cent of single parent households where the single parent works full-time were in poverty in 2012-13. DWP (2014) Households below average income (HBAI): 1994/95 to 2012/13.Table 4.14ts.
[2] 63 per cent of the households capped were single parent households in the snapshot statistic for February 2015. DWP (2015) Benefit cap: number of households capped to February 2015.
70% of single parent households which were capped in April 2013-March 2014 had a child under five (DWP response to FoI, March 2015).
[3] 47 per cent of single parents polled had borrowed money to help pay for childcare in the two years prior to the survey. Paying the price: The childcare challenge by Gingerbread Research Officer Sumi Rabindrakumar, published March 2015.

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