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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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News: Childcare costs biggest employment barrier for single parents

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The biggest barriers to work for single parents are childcare costs and a shortage of flexible and well-paid enough jobs, a study has revealed.

According to research published by charity Gingerbread, single parents with children over the age of 12 face double the rate of long-term unemployment as the rest of the population (8%).
 
Moreover, even if they do manage to find a job, some 22% are out of work again within a year as they struggle to find secure employment. As a result, some 1.2 million children in the UK are growing up in households where no one works, but a further 300,000 are living below the poverty line even though their parent is employed.
 
The research was published to mark the launch of a three year campaign calling on the government to take action in helping single parents escape unemployment and working poverty.
 
Gingerbread’s chief executive, Fiona Weir, said that, although successive governments had recognised that getting single parents into work was vital to tackle child poverty and cut the cost of the benefits bill, “years of political rhetoric have made very little practical difference”.
 
A survey undertaken by the charity among 1,388 of its members indicated that the biggest challenges to entering employment for single parents were childcare costs (31% of those questioned), a lack of jobs based around flexible working (29%) and too many positions that did not pay enough to make work worthwhile (20%).
 
As a result, Weir called on employers and the government to find ways of:
 
  • Making work a guaranteed route out of poverty for single parents
  • Getting 250,000 more single parents into work by 2010
  • Changing attitudes to work and school hours
  • Unlock single parents’ skills and potential.
 
Author Profile Picture
Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett
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