Lone parents ‘skip meals to provide for children’

Some lone parents are skipping meals to ensure their children don't go without, according to a study examining experiences of living on a low income in a rural Scottish community. Stress over financial problems for lone parents is being compounded by fears about the impact of benefit cuts.

Key findings

  • Low income affects the quality of life that lone parents can achieve, and this in turn has an impact on choices and daily activities within the household.
  • Benefits reform will have a heavy impact on lone parents. Many are reporting negative effects from the migration to employment and support allowance. Many also experience stress and worry over housing benefit reforms.
  • Rising costs, in particular the costs of food and fuel, are having a serious impact. This has resulted in many lone parents skipping meals to feed their children, with 'worrying' implications for their physical well-being.
  • There are multiple barriers to accessing the labour market, services such as healthcare, and community life in general. These include low confidence, poor public transport, a shortage of childcare, digital exclusion and lack of knowledge about the services available.

The report concludes that a lack of adequate income, whether through low pay or benefits, is the underlying cause of many of the problems faced by lone parents in the study. The UK government's austerity cuts are likely to increase the severity of this situation.

Source: Fiona McHardy, Surviving Poverty – The Impact of Lone Parenthood, Poverty Alliance
LinksReport | Poverty Alliance press release