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Gingerbread: Single parents face deepening poverty and hostility

Many lone parents are facing deepening poverty while most feel under fire from the media, a survey by the charity Gingerbread revealed today.

The poll of 770 lone parents, released to coincide with the relaunch of the charity formerly known as One Parent Families/Gingerbread, found that 70% have had to go without something in the past year to make ends meet.

Over a third (38%) have had to borrow money in the past year and half of those surveyed felt that it was now harder to bring up children alone than it was a decade ago.

Besides economic hardship, 84% thought the media presented single parents in a negative light.

Welfare to work

The survey comes amid a renewed push from the government to get more lone parents into work. By 2011, single parents will have to seek work by the time their youngest child turns seven, down from age 16 in 2008.

The current Welfare Reform Bill will require single parents with youngest children aged three to six to improve their employability.

Gingerbread chief executive Fiona Weir said: “Single parents tell us they are sick of being treated as second rate families.  Most do a good job of bringing up children mainly on their own and want respect not blame.  They are struggling to stay afloat as the recession takes hold, with half the children in single parent families already growing up in poverty.”

The National Council for One Parent Families and the former Gingerbread charity merged in March 2007 to create One Parent Families/Gingerbread.

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