Stockton North MP, Alex Cunningham has pledged support for a campaign to boost single parent employment, run by the charity Gingerbread.
33 per cent of families in Stockton North are headed by single parents, many of whom struggle to balance work with caring for their children. With childcare increasingly unaffordable, a lack of school-hours jobs on offer and reduced opportunities for single parents to get training, finding a decent job can become an almost impossible task, with many single parents in work still struggling to make ends meet.
With 1.16 million children in the UK growing up in single parent families where no-one works, the charity has launched a three-year campaign to Make it work for single parents. It’s calling on the government to support single parents to overcome the barriers they face to work and make a commitment to increasing single parent employment.
“Any parent wants to be able to provide for their family, and we should be doing all that we can to help single parents do just that.”
Three out of five single parents in the UK are in work and the vast majority of those who aren’t in work want to be, argues Gingerbread. However, new research from the charity has found that into work services from Jobcentre Plus and the Work Programme is failing to deliver the tailored support that single parents need .
Gingerbread chief executive Fiona Weir said:
“Single parents are highly motivated to work but face significant barriers including high childcare costs and a shortage of family friendly jobs that pay a decent wage. They need not only specialist support in the job centre, but a more flexible approach from employers and greater support for childcare costs.”
For single parents who do work, a job is not a guaranteed route out of financial hardship: more than 300,000 children in working single parent families are growing up below the poverty line. Almost a quarter (22%) of single parents who manage to find work are out of work again within a year as they struggle to find a job that offers security.
“Times are tough for many families at the moment and it’s essential that we do all we can to ensure that work always pays and always offers a route out of poverty for families.”
To support Gingerbread’s Make it Work campaign visit www.gingerbread.org.uk/makeitwork