Cookies Policy

We use cookies to give you the best experience of our site. By using this site or by dismissing this banner you are consenting to their use. Find out how to manage cookies and change your settings.


We provide expert advice, practical support and campaign for single parents

  • Join us
  • Log in

Paying the price: Single parents in the age of austerity

At Gingerbread, we know single parents do a fantastic job. We also know the recession and changes to taxes, benefits and public services are making life more and more difficult for many single parent families. While some claim ‘we’re all in this together’, there are growing concerns that single parent families are bearing the brunt of these changes.

With funding from Trust for London and the Barrow Cadbury Trust, Gingerbread is undertaking a three-year research project to look at how single parent families are faring during the ‘age of austerity’. You can read more about our project aims and research methods on our About the project page.

Latest findings

'Paying the Price: The impact of the Summer Budget on single parent families' looks at the combined impact of reforms to welfare, tax and pay proposed in July 2015 on single parents in the UK.

Read our press release, or download the findings (PDF)

The report found:

Single parents will suffer significant losses: By 2020/21, single parents will lose 7.6 per cent (£1,300) of their income a year on average, even after taking into account tax and wage gains

Single parents are the worst hit by the combined reforms: They lose seven times more income than couple parents as a share of income, and nearly three times as much in cash terms

Low income working single parents are hit hardest: Working single parents in the poorest fifth of incomes lose more than those in the poorest fifth of incomes who are out of work.

Gingerbread is concerned that single parents are again paying the price of welfare reform, having already borne the brunt of previous cuts; we urge the government to:

Pause: The government should pause reforms until their full impact is assessed and understood, particularly in terms of income and work incentives

Reconsider: The government aims for a ‘higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare’ economy, but it must ensure this is not achieved at the expense of low income families – particularly those in work

Rebalance: The government can make alternative choices in reaching its economic and political goals – around redistributing cuts, slowing the pace of change or reallocating spending to ensure policies more effectively support low income families and make work pay.


Gingerbread press release.

Quick round up

Download a round up of our findings from:

Related research

Tailor-made? (March 2013) makes recommendations to counter single parents’ invisibility within this system.

Singled out? (February 2013) reveals that young and disabled single parents could lose hundreds, even thousands, of pounds a year under Universal Credit.

Struggling to make ends meet (November 2012) shows that current plans will fail to make work pay for some single parent families.

Unintended consequences (September 2012) shows how the structure of universal credit undermines the coalition commitment to support low income workers through raising the personal tax allowance threshold.


If you have any questions about this research, please contact Sumi Rabindrakumar