Single parents experienceing benefit changes3

Single parents in benefits storm – Gingerbread’s data

With rising prices on one side and falling benefits on the other, have single parents been disproportionately hit by welfare reforms? Gingerbread, the charity supporting lone parents, believes so.

Their online survey ‘Paying the price:single parents in the age of austerity (pdf)’ asked a number of questions about meeting rising living costs, with 591 single parents replying between July and September 2013.

HMI Welfare have obtained the online survey data results here 

Between 2010 and 2012 there has been a 6% drop in single parent earnings, but on average couples’ income has stayed roughly constant, Faith Dawes from Gingerbread said:

“Single parent families are already at greater risk of poverty than other families with children, and we are concerned that they are bearing a disproportionate burden of austerity reforms.”

The picture painted by the survey includes:

  • Single parent incomes dropped 6% between 2010/11 and 2011/12
  • Household essentials make up one third of spending
  • 55% are running out of money before the end of almost every month
  • 87% have borrowed money or sought emergency welfare support in the last year
  • 62% have borrowed money from friends and family
  • 13% have taken a loan from a payday or doorstep lender
  • 40% are behind in paying bills.

Faith Dawes said:

“These are difficult times for many families, and there is an ongoing debate over the living standards and other pressures facing the ‘squeezed middle’ in times of austerity.

“Paying the Price will track different aspects of single parents’ lives over the next two years, bringing together findings from our own surveys, case study research and national household survey data.”

J K Rowling, the charity’s president, has spoken out in recent months about the hidden welfare cuts:

“It’s all in the detail: the gaps in childcare provision for many of the poorest families, single parents under 25 to lose vital support for their children, the harsh truth that more single parent families will lose than gain under the new system – including many who work.

“This detail becomes hugely important if it’s the difference between eating three meals a day or going without. “

It is also available as a PDF at, with the data in Appendix 2. The report was funded by Trust for London and Barrow Cadbury Trust.

Related: Families with children in Britain:Findings from the 2008 Families and children study (FACS) Maplethorpe, Chanfreau, Philo, Tait.