Single parents can’t afford acceptable living standards for them and their children even if they work full time.
The Child Poverty Action Group has revealed an income crisis for single parent families driven by the benefits freeze, the Universal Credit rollout, stagnant wages and a rise in the cost of essentials like food, transport, fuel and council tax.
In the Loughborough University report, The Cost of a Child in 2019, experts estimated that the cost of taking care of a child up until the age of 18 is £185,000 for single parents, up 19 per cent since 2012.
Lone parents with young children who are not in employment fall 40% (£158 per week) short of this figure, while even those working full time for the national living wage fall 21 per cent short (£80 per week).
Even single parents earning the median wage of £12.78 per hour have 16% less than they need, compared to 6 per cent in 2012.
Professor Donald Hirsch, author of the report, said that families under greater pressure – like those with more children to support or those who get fewer hours at work – are suffering disproportionately.