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Paying the price: The long road to recovery

Author: Sumi Rabindrakumar, Research Officer, Gingerbread

The findings by Gingerbread shows that work is failing to provide the majority of working single parent families with the income they need, with two thirds saying finances are a constant struggle at best and one in ten saying they are not coping financially.

More than 2,000 single parents shared their experiences in an online survey and 23 took part in one-to-one interviews for the report.

The findings show that single parents are almost twice as likely to be in low-paid jobs as other workers (39% of working single parents compared with 21% of working people nationally).

Single parents are also facing marked job insecurity and unpredictable incomes: one in five working single parent respondents had seen their income fall and one in four non-working single parents left their last paid job after redundancy, having their wage or hours cut or their temporary contract ending.

Single parents taking part in Gingerbread’s research reported taking on extra hours at work, working multiple jobs and having to take a gamble on temporary or zero-hours contracts as they attempt to mitigate wage cuts and the rising costs of family essentials.

  • One in six (16%) of working single parents surveyed were juggling more than one job
  • A quarter (26%) of working single parents surveyed had increased their working hours in the last two years due to financial necessity
  • Even with these increases, 23% of working single parents would still like to work more hours
  • 12% of working single parents said they had experienced a temporary or fixed term contract for the first time in the past two years; 6 per said they had experienced a ‘zero-hours’ contract for the first time in the same period.

The independent report was part-funded by Trust for London.


24 June 2014

Paying the price: The long road to recovery