Let’s make it work for lone parents


Today, I’m pledging my support for a campaign to boost single parent employment, run by the charity Gingerbread.

42 per cent of families in Birmingham Northfield are headed by lone parents, and many struggle to balance work with caring for their children.  As the cost of childcare increases, finding a decent job that fits in with school hours can become an almost impossible task.  Add in to this mix reduced opportunities for lone parents to get training, and it’s easy to see why many working lone parents struggle to make ends meet.

So I’m backing Gingerbread’s recently launched three-year campaign to Make It Work for Single Parents, which calls on the government to support lone parents to overcome the barriers they face to work, and make a commitment to increasing lone parent employment.

Any parent wants to be able to provide for their family, and we should be doing all that we can to help lone parents do exactly that.

Three out of five lone parents in the UK are in work, and the vast majority of those who aren’t in work want to be.  Gingerbread shows that investing in job growth for lone parents would reap rewards for families, and public finances.  By getting just 5% more lone parents into work, Gingerbread say the Treasury could make £436 million in savings a year.

But for lone parents who do work, a job is not a guaranteed route out of financial hardship: more than 300,000 children in working single parent families are growing up below the poverty line and the number of children in poverty is set to rise.  Almost a quarter (22%) of lone parents who manage to find work are out of work again within a year as they struggle to find a job that offers security, so specialist support is needed as is family-friendly flexibility from employers.

Times are tough for many families at the moment, and it’s essential that we do all we can to ensure that work always pays and always offers a route out of poverty for families.

To support Gingerbread’s Make it Work campaign, please visit:



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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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