Press: Scottish Parliament Committee “Impact of Welfare Reform” report

Press: Scottish Parliament Committee “Impact of Welfare Reform” report

Scottish Parliament Welfare Reform Committee “Impact of Welfare Reform” report makes shocking reading

Press Release: 02 March 2015

Single Parents are among the hardest hit by the UK Government’s welfare reforms according to new research commissioned by the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee[1] on the impact of the reforms on households.

The research, by Sheffield Hallam University, shows that lone parents with dependent children will lose an average of around £1,800 a year from their income.

Satwat Rehman, Director of One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS), said:

“The findings of this research showing the cumulative impact of welfare reforms reveal that lone parents with dependent children stand to lose an average of £1,800 a year. This hits some of Scotland’s poorest families hard, with a dreadful impact on children’s health and wellbeing. Parents tell us they are struggling financially, falling into debt and coming under intense emotional and psychological stress as they struggle to heat their homes, buy food and protect their children from hardship.

Nearly half the reduction in support falls on in-work households. If the Westminster government is committed to assisting more parents to move into sustainable work, which also helps reduce child poverty, then the focus should be on providing additional funding to Scotland to improve childcare availability, flexibility and costs as well as ensuring employers to pay the Living Wage and create more family-friendly jobs.

It is scandalous that we are witnessing a dramatic rise in the numbers of lone parents being financially penalised as a result of welfare changes. Thousands of single parents across Scotland already face extra hurdles when caring for their children. These struggling families must not be hit any harder, especially at a time when support services are being cut and the costs of the daily shop, childcare and housing are rising.

Mitigation is not sufficient. Welfare reform is robbing our poorest children of life chances and meaningful existence. A system based on cutting benefits and penalising our poorest families to live in penury with a terrible impact on children’s health and wellbeing is unacceptable. Now it is time to say welfare reform is not working. Other European countries support much more generous and effective welfare systems and there is no reason why we cannot afford to do likewise.”

[1] www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/46339.aspx

–ENDS–

Notes to Editors

  • In Scotland there are 170,000 single parents looking after 291,000 children – one in four families.
  • The majority have just one child.
  • The average (median) age of single parents is 38.
  • Fewer than 2% are teenagers.
  • 92% are mothers and 8% are fathers.
  • 65% are in work and the overwhelming majority of the rest want to work.

One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS) is a national charity dedicated to supporting Scotland’s single parents and their children since 1944. It offers a free telephone helpline and information service to single parents. It also runs community based projects in Aberdeenshire, Dundee, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Glasgow and North & South Lanarkshire. These include flexible childcare services, single fathers’ support, teen parent services, supporting parents return to work, family support, and advice for parents and their children.

For further information please contact:

Marion Davis, Policy & Research Adviser
Mob: 07794 226484
Email: marion.davis@opfs.org.uk

One Parent Families Scotland
13 Gayfield Square, Edinburgh, EH1 3NX

Posted in Press Releases, Welfare Reform.

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