A new report shows single parents have been hardest hit by money worries during the pandemic, amid warnings the latest lockdown could push them over the edge.
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A new report reveals that single-parent families are one of the groups hardest hit financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The findings from anti-poverty charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, showed that lone parents were more likely to work in sectors affected by the pandemic, such as hospitality or retail.
Single parents – the majority of which are women – were also more likely to struggle with childcare, meaning many had to reduce their hours or were unable to work during lockdown.
The charity warns that lone parents were already struggling pre-pandemic owing to benefits freezes and many working fewer hours due to childcare. And the latest lockdown may push some over the brink, as they try to keep children warm, fed and online for home schooling
Black, Asian and minority ethnic households, part-time workers and private renters have also been disproportionately affected by financial issues during the pandemic.
Lone mum Melanie, says it has been a challenging and worrying time.
‘I have been caring for my 88-year-old father as well as bringing up my son and I haven’t been working since October. The job situation is pretty bleak. I’m at a loss about what to do next.
‘I know this lockdown is necessary but it’s also another thing to battle through after all the struggles of the last year, and I want the system to work much better for people in my position once we get through this.
‘One thing that has helped a little is the temporary £20-a-week uplift in Universal Credit. That extra £20 gave me a little bit more wiggle room … I always needed that extra money to get me through.’
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation is calling for the government to take urgent action to tackle poverty in 2021, including making the £20 increase on Universal Credit and Tax Credit permanent.
The increase was a temporary measure introduced in April 2020 and is set to be cut in April this year. However, the charity warns that cutting it would mean more than six million families would have their budgets slashed overnight.
They are also calling for an increase in access to online learning for disadvantaged children and for free school meals to be provided as cash rather than vouchers or packages.
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