Families with three or more children are nearly twice as likely
to be living “in hardship” as one or two-child families, according
to new research.
The report for the Department for Work and Pensions found that
49 per cent of all large families (defined as those with three or
more children) and 70 per cent of those with four or more children
were in moderate or severe hardship, compared with 26 per cent of
Large families headed by a lone parent were even more likely to
be in hardship – 77 per cent in total.
The study found that family size is an important contributing
factor to parents’ hours of work even when other factors are
taken into account. Large families with two parents were more
likely to have neither parent working more than 16 hours a week,
and less likely to have both parents working more than 16 hours a
week than small couple families. Among lone parents, 71 per cent of
those with three or more children were working fewer than 16 hours
a week compared with 51 per cent of those with smaller
The research used a sample of families drawn from child benefit
Meanwhile, more than 100,000 lone parents were refused budgeting
loans from the Social Fund last year because of outstanding debt.
Lone parents received 57 per cent of total expenditure on budgeting
loans, with a total of 634,000 loans worth an average of about
More than 95 per cent of the money spent on social fund loans
was paid back to the government. The DWP massively beat its own
loan recovery target of £488m by recovering £520.7m,
according to its annual report on the fund.
– For more details see