Press: Single parents in work
Five per cent rise in single parent employment rates.
Press Release: 24 February 2015
The Minister for Women’s Employment met with mothers today to look at how Scotland can further support an increase in the number of single parents who move into sustainable employment, paid at a living wage.
Annabelle Ewing visited the Maryhill Hub of third sector organisation One Parent Families Scotland to discuss how staff are helping parents enrol in training and take up work.
The Minister said:
“In the last six years we have seen the employment rate of lone parents in Scotland go up five per cent. That is progress in the right direction and the best record in the UK, but it is clear we can do more.
“Figures alone also do not reveal the very real barriers that single mothers and fathers face in taking up work. Many settle for jobs they are over qualified for simply to fit in around childcare, something that is currently much more of issue for women than men. This is why our expanded early learning and childcare is so important.
“We need to find ways to help mothers and fathers get the work they want and are qualified for, but it is also crucially important to help them build their skills and support them to be able to take up better paid jobs and ensure they are not trapped in a cycle of in-work poverty.
“The experience of One Parent Families Scotland and the families it works with is invaluable to better understanding the particular challenges that need to be overcome in single parent families. I am particularly keen to hear of the success in combining advice with practical support – including additional childcare, providing ICT training, interview preparation and work placements.”
Satwat Rehman, Director of One Parent Families Scotland welcomed the Minister to the Lone Parent Hub and said:
“Maryhill is one of three Hubs that we run in Glasgow offering support, advice and information to enable single parents in the area to empower themselves and take control of their lives. Most single parents want to go back to work, education or training but this can be quite a daunting task and many need our support to move in the right direction.
“All the mums who use the Hub are living on very low incomes and are affected by poverty, with some of them trying to cope with sanctions to their benefits. Their aim is to escape poverty and create the best possible lives for their children, and OPFS’s aim is to help them navigate their way to a better life.”
The Hub supports women in work preparation activities such as CV writing, computer skills and interview skills. It offers advice on welfare reform, benefits, fuel awareness, debt and finances, and operates a peer mentoring service. All the hubs have a crèche for children under five. The service is funded by the Scottish Government, STV Appeal and Big Lottery.
In Scotland there are 170,000 single parents looking after 291,000 children – that’s one in four families. The majority of single parents have one child. The median age of a single parent is 38 and fewer than 2 per cent are teenagers. 92 per cent of single parents are mothers and 65 per cent are in work.
OPFS helps thousands of single parents every year through its Lone Parent Helpline and information services. It also runs projects in Glasgow, Dundee, Edinburgh, Aberdeenshire, Falkirk and Lanarkshire.
The female employment rate in August – October 2014 was 71.4 per cent in Scotland, above the UK rate of 68.1 per cent. The level of female employment in Scotland increased by 48,000 over the year to 1,292,000, the highest level since comparable records began.
Through the Children and Young People’s Act (Scotland) 2014 funded early learning and childcare for three and four year olds has been increased to 600 hours, and extended to our most disadvantaged two year olds – 15% this year rising to 27% from August 2015; and, will increase flexibility of hours year on year. This commitment will support families’ to co-ordinate employment and childcare, and allow more parents to enter employment.
The employment rate for lone parents (aged 16-64) in Scotland in 2014 was 65%, up 5 percentage points from 59% since the start of the recession in 2008. The Scottish rate is higher than the rate in the UK of 63% (which has increased by 7 percentage points from 56% over the same period).
 Labour Force Survey Household Datasets, Apr-Jun 2014, not seasonally adjusted, ONS. Lone Parents are those people with dependent children under the age of 19 who are not living with a spouse, civil partner or partner. Dependent children are children aged 16 and under and children aged 17 or 18 in full-time education.