Getting five percent of single parents in work to save £436 million

The government could make £436 million of savings a year by getting just five per cent more single parents into work, according to new ISER research published by the charity for single parents, Gingerbread.

Researchers Dr Paola De Agostini and Professor Mike Brewer made the projections by calculating gains in taxes and the reduction in benefit payments from having just 5 per cent more single parents in work. The savings from reduced need in benefits alone would come to £272 million a year.

Gingerbread argues that by investing in tackling the barriers to work that single parents face, the government will not only save money in the long-term, but will also help thousands of families to escape poverty.

As the Chancellor prepares to announce a spending review for ‘recovery’ the charity is calling on him to make boosting single parent employment an explicit part of the economy’s growth plan.

Gingerbread chief executive Fiona Weir said:

“It’s time that single parents were given a greater role to play in our economic recovery than simply bearing the brunt of many of the government’s welfare cuts. Cuts to vital support will push thousands more single parent families into poverty, but investment in jobs, support and training offers a route out of it."

“59 per cent of single parents in the UK are in work (3) and we know that the majority of the rest want to be. But they need the government to help with childcare costs, create more flexible jobs that pay a decent wage, and invest in skills and training.”

Welfare cuts have already hit single parent families hard – and of those the government has already announced, just 58% will have been implemented by the end of 2013/14, with a further 42% to come into effect by 2017/18 (4).
Gingerbread’s campaign, Make it work for single parents, is calling for the government to set a target of getting 250,000 more single parents in work by 2020.

The projections are contained in a technical note which forms the first release of a research project, commissioned by Gingerbread, which is being conducted by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex on single parent employment. The full research report, which will examine in detail the likely impact of universal credit on the incomes and work incentives of single parents, will be published in early autumn 2013.

Media contact:
Faith Dawes, Gingerbread media officer: 020 7428 5416

Notes to editors
(1) Brewer, M. De Agostini, P. (2013) forthcoming autumn 2013. Methodology technical note available on request.

(2) Calculated from gains to the Treasury in income tax, national insurance, and reductions in payments for means-tested benefits. Methodology technical note available on request.

(3) Working and Workless Households, 2012, Table P. ONS Statistical Bulletin, August 2012

(4) IFS Cutting the deficit: three years down, five to go?, May 2013


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