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16 December, 2020 Open access

Government urged to introduce four-point plan to tackle single parent poverty after coronavirus and retain £20 uplift to universal credit

Learning and Work Institute and Gingerbread call for measures to address 'devastating impact' of pandemic on single parent families

The Learning and Work Institute and Gingerbread have called on the government to introduce a four-point plan to tackle single parent poverty after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and retain the £20 'uplift' to universal credit which is due to end in March 2021.

In Tackling single parent poverty after coronavirus, published today, the Learning and Work Institute and Gingerbread set out the findings of research, supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which shows that single parents have suffered a ‘double impact’ in that they are more likely to have been working in the sectors and jobs that have been hit hardest, and they are more likely to have been impacted by the closure of schools and childcare.

In particular, the research shows that -

As a result, the Learning and Work Institute and Gingerbread call on the government to retain the £20 'uplift' to universal credit and to introduce the following four-point plan to address lone parent poverty after the pandemic -

Commenting on the report, Gingerbread Chief Executive Victoria Benson said -

'This new research provides a stark reminder of the devastating impacts the pandemic is having on single parent families. Even before the Crisis, single parent families were far more likely to be living in poverty compared to any other household type - despite record numbers in employment.

The pandemic has poured fuel onto the fire, forcing many single parents into an impossible balancing act of working and caring for their children without the formal and informal childcare support they would normally rely on to make work possible. Many have lost jobs and income as a result, putting them at even greater risk of poverty.

The government must do more to support single parent families through the pandemic and beyond. Single parents must be better supported to stay in work, find new work or retrain to ensure that they can access quality, flexible and sustainable work for the long term. Alongside this, greater investment in childcare infrastructure is vital to ensure that single parents are not locked out of work altogether.'

For more information, see Retain £20 Universal Credit lifeline and introduce four point plan to tackle single parent poverty after coronavirus from learning and work.org.uk