Living Wage Week and single parent families
Our Head of Policy, Marion Davis, writes about the importance of a real living wage to single parent families this Living Wage Week (9-15th November)
This Living Wage Week comes at an incredibly challenging time for single parents in low-paid jobs, making the need for a real Living Wage more important than ever.
Over 90% of single parents are women and many are in low-paid and insecure work. The new real Living Wage rates will give a boost to thousands of single parents, including many who are key and essential workers, such as the cleaners, care workers and catering staff who have kept our economy going.
One Parent Families Scotland is very proud to be a real Living Wage employer. The pandemic has shown just how much we need each other to get by and has highlighted the crucial role of millions of essential workers in low-paid, insecure work.
Now, more than ever, we need to recognise and celebrate those key workers once considered invisible, as well as employers who do the right thing by workers and their families and pay the real Living Wage.
The Living Wage should be part of any strategy to build a more sustainable and equitable society. The present crisis has shone a light on the hardships experienced by families struggling to survive on inadequate incomes.
Read our blog from earlier this year on International Women’s Day and the policy changes, including a real living wage, which can help end inequality for single parents.
See all our calls to action for the UK Government and Scottish Government, taken from the recommendations we contributed to the Scottish Government’s evidence review on poverty in single parent families in August.
See Public Health Scotland’s paper on ‘COVID-19 and lone parent households’.
The UK Government could make a real difference to these families’ prospects by increasing the statutory Living Wage to the level of the real Living Wage.
We would urge the government to do this, alongside implementing four other key policies which would help struggling families:
- Continue the £20 addition to Universal Credit and working tax credit beyond March 2021;
- Extend this addition to include Jobseeker’s Allowance, so that non‐working families on legacy benefits are also covered;
- Abolish the benefit cap, which penalises single parent families with the highest costs; and
- Abolish the two‐child limit, which penalises families with three or more children that require support to cover family costs.
These immediate measures would recognise that, in the wake of a decade of austerity, many single parent and other families have been left with far too little income to cover their minimum costs.
Now, more than ever, it is essential to act quickly to address this imbalance and to create a more fair and just society for all children and families.