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

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Make work a guaranteed route out of poverty for single parents

What isn’t working?

For years single parents have been told that being in a job should be enough to lift their families out of poverty and provide decent opportunities for their children.  As the government introduces huge changes to the benefits system, we are once again hearing the message from the government that it is creating work that pays.

For many single parents this simply isn’t a reality- one in five working full time lives in poverty. This figure is even higher for those in part-time work.  Single parents are all too often forced to take up jobs that are poorly paid, with few prospects for progression.  

It is not simply a case of working more. Even under the much vaunted Universal Credit, the costs such as childcare can mean that working more hours can leave a family no better off. Instead of making work pay, this is serving only to trap families in poverty.

How to make it work

Gingerbread believes improvement is not only possible but necessary. We are demanding the government looks again at how it can make work pay. All single parents working 24 hours a week or more should be lifted out of poverty, once both their housing and childcare costs have been taken into account.

To make this happen we need to see:


  • Further investment in Universal Credit – which needs to address both additional support for childcare costs, with an increase from the current level of 70 per cent of costs covered; and a combination of a reduced taper rate, higher disregard, and an increased basic element to genuinely make work pay
  • A renewed debate and action on wage levels and low pay.