UK – One in three children whose single parent works part-time now in poverty

Government figures published today show that the proportion of children from single parent families where the parent works part-time but who still live in poverty, has leapt from one in four (23 per cent) to almost one in three (31 per cent) in just one year (1).


Children from single parent families are twice as likely to live in poverty as children from couple families in the UK, with 43 per cent now below the poverty line (2).

Gingerbread chief executive Fiona Weir said:
“It is alarming to see the dramatic leap in the numbers of single parents who are in work, but still trapped in poverty, with one in three children whose single parent works part-time below the poverty line. Government claims that work is the best route out of poverty are simply not ringing true.

“More than four in ten single parent families are living in poverty in the UK today – that means going without many of the essentials that most families take for granted: a hot shower, three meals a day or new shoes for your children when their feet grow.

“There is action the government can take now to help families out of poverty: single parents overwhelmingly want to work but many can’t find flexible or part-time jobs that pay a decent wage.  The single parents who do find work are disproportionately in low-skilled and low-paid jobs (3) and as today’s statistics show, more and more are failing to escape poverty through work (4).

“By helping to create the family-friendly jobs single parents need, increasing support for childcare and balancing tax credits and benefits so that work always pays, the government can help more single parent families over the poverty line and into sustainable work.”

Gingerbread’s campaign make it work for single parents is calling on the government to commit to getting 250,000 more single parents into work by 2020. Visit to read single parents’ stories and find out more about the campaign.


Notes to editors
1) Households Below Average Income (HBAI) 2011/12, DWP (
2) Increase from 41% in 2010/11: Households Below Average Income (HBAI) 2011/12, DWP (
3) 68 per cent of single parents enter the lowest three occupational groups, which tend to be the least secure, lowest skilled, lowest paid and with the least opportunities for progression (Newis, P (2012) It’s off to work we go? Moving from income support to jobseeker’s allowance for single parents with a child aged five, Gingerbread)
4) Households Below Average Income (HBAI) 2011/12, DWP (

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