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Economic Justice

Universal credit risks driving working single parents into debt, warns new report

Despite record employment levels, harsh welfare policies, low quality work and the high cost of living mean that single parents are finding it increasingly hard to make ends meet and avoid debt, according to a new report out today.

‘Paying the price’, the latest report from Gingerbread, comes as the Government is set to accelerate the roll-out of universal credit – prompting the charity to call on the Government to end the delays in benefit payments that are built into the new welfare system.

The report finds:

  • 71% of single parents found managing finances to always be difficult
  • A third (34%) of single parents surveyed were in debt – the majority of those in debt owed over £1,000, with a quarter owing over £10,000.
  • Based on an online survey of 1,861 single parents, around half  run out of money by the end of the month – whether in work or not.

The report shows that, while the government has repeated the mantra that “work is the best route out of poverty”, this is not the case for many single parents. Working families have not escaped welfare cuts; caps on working age benefits, for example, mean that a single parent working part-time on the minimum wage has lost around £900 over the past three years.

To read more see the executive summary or read the  full report.