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Local MP welcomes new campaign to support single mothers

Chesterfield MP, Toby Perkins today welcomed a new campaign to boost single parent employment, run by the charity Gingerbread.

46 per cent of families in Chesterfield are headed by single parents and many of these 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.

Toby Perkins said: “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.  I welcome the fact there is a new campaign which will put this issue at the forefront of the political discussion.”

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.

Toby Perkins added: “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.

“Unfortunately local single parents are also under attack from the Tory-led government’s introduction of Universal Credit which will undermine the flexibility many single parents need to support families their families.

“Mothers of infant school children who have been left by their husbands could now find themselves forced to take full time jobs, evening or night shifts, even if it makes it impossible to do the school run or after school childcare isn’t available.

“Those who can’t manage to find childcare or family friendly hours could lose £70 a week, even though they are already on the breadline. Single parents of school age children should be expected to look for work and support their families as the kids get older. But by ditching the focus on part time work or child care pressures from the Universal Credit regulations, Ministers have proved once again they have no clue about the reality of working mums’ lives.”

You can find out more about Gingerbread’s campaign here.

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Welcome

I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

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