Nearly four out of 10 children in single parent families live in poverty

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A NEW report released today shows that ‘nearly four out of 10 children in single parent families in Scotland live in poverty’.

The research conducted by One Parent Families Scotland(OPFS), suggests that the Scottish Government must make better efforts to help deliver Scotland’s child poverty targets.

The investigation shows that more must be done for single parents and carers who want paid employment.

Child poverty in the UK-Scottish News
While not all carers are able to pursue paid work, the charities say single parents and carers who want paid employment must be better supported(Photo from Edward Howell on Unsplash)

OPFS argues that better support would take single parents and carers closer towards good-quality jobs which would provide a reliable route out of poverty. 

The OPFS report recognises “a number of welcome and important steps” have been taken since the devolution of employability back in 2017, like moving away from the UK’s sanctions-based approach, But says there is “more to do to establish a distinct Scottish approach”. 

Today’s report calls for five key principles to be embedded and delivered in Scottish Government employability programmes: dignity, inclusion and outreach; empowerment; personalisation; holistic support; and the pursuit of “good jobs, not any job”. 

The new research comes alongside a joint call by OPFS and Oxfam Scotland.

Chief executive of OPFS Satwat Rehman said: “Among the lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic, the enormous challenge of balancing work and childcare alone is surely at the forefront.

“Nearly four out of 10 children in single parent families in Scotland live in poverty. This is a shameful statistic.

“We fear our legal targets to reduce child poverty will be destined for failure unless single parents’ access to high quality employment is improved as a matter of urgency.” 

single mother-Scottish News
The Scottish Government is committed to a legal target of reducing child poverty to 18% by 2023/24 and less than 10% by 2030(Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash)

The Scottish Government is committed to a legal target of reducing child poverty to 18% by 2023/24 and less than 10% by 2030.  

Head of Oxfam Scotland Jamie Livingstone said: “We need an urgent step-change in the way carers and parents are valued, supported and protected from poverty. 

“The next Scottish Government should make a generation-defining commitment to carers by creating a new National Outcome on care to place carers and the people they look after at the heart of national policy and spending decisions.

“The research suggests that better partnership working with employers is needed to ensure that people looking for work are offered training that matches with local labour market gaps.”

This report highlights that if the government don’t act it could push those with caring responsibilities further to the back of the employment queue amid a predicted surge in unemployment due to the pandemic.