Support for families is welcome – but it must also be there for those who have separated

Posted 11 January 2016

Gingerbread responds to speech by Prime Minister David Cameron about improving life chances.

Gingerbread, the charity for single parent families, has today responded to the Prime Minister’s speech on life chances.

Fiona Weir, Chief Executive, said:

“Further support for families is welcome, but it needs to be available to help families deal with conflict both before and after separation, so that parents who do separate are better able to cooperate and support their children.

 “It is also important to recognise that many families are struggling to pay the bills. Research shows that money worries place a great strain on relationships.

“But many of the measures introduced by this government will see families, particularly poorer families, struggling to make ends meet. 

“Shoring up support for families must also mean making sure they have enough money to live on.

“The government should scrap plans to reduce support for those families that are working but earning low wages. Cuts to universal credit, including a reduction in the amount you are allowed to earn before it starts to get withdrawn, will see a million single parent families lose money. Working single parent households will lose an average £800 a year, with the poorest fifth losing the equivalent of almost a month’s income because of this change. (1)

“We welcome the Prime Minister’s recognition the children growing up in single parent families are twice as likely to face poverty as those in couple households. But it’s crucial to understand the real reasons behind this, including low wages, high childcare costs and – among the majority who are working – high levels of in-work poverty. These are all areas where government policy could better support all families.”

Notes

(1)  Our analysis of the impact of the measures contained in the Welfare Reform Bill is available to download here http://gingerbread.org.uk/content/2149/Welfare-changes–impact-on-single-parents

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