One Parent Families Manifesto: 2024 General Election

Last updated: 27/06/2024

Changing Lives, Challenging Poverty – Five pledges to tackle child poverty

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Read our single parent stories to learn about the impact of some of these policies for one parent families.

Find out more about our policy and research work.

As the UK prepares to vote on July 4th for a new UK government, we believe that tackling child poverty should be front and centre of immediate policy priorities in the first 50 days of a new government.

In Scotland, single parent families make up one in four of families, with over half living in poverty – this has a devastating impact on the lives and prospects of so many children.

One Parent Families Scotland has consulted parents to identify the five priority areas where they want to see change.


Challenge judgemental attitudes and discrimination towards single parents

Ensure families of all types are valued and treated equally in public policy.

Recognise single parenthood is deeply gendered. Single mothers face the systemic inequalities women experience.

Include single parenthood as a ‘protected characteristic’ in the Equality Act to challenge discrimination against single parents and their children.

Introduce single parent proofing of policies in recognition of the unique role of single parents as sole carers & breadwinners.


Invest in a social security system that prevents child poverty, treating single parent families with dignity and respect

Urgently review and reform Universal Credit:

Establish a legal minimum ‘essentials guarantee’ in Universal Credit to prevent people from lacking necessities like food and energy.

Pay single parents under 25yrs the same rate as those over 25 yrs.

Remove the five-week wait for payment of UC.

Invest to improve poor DWP administration, prioritising childcare costs.

End policies that penalise children in single parent families – the two-child limit and the benefits cap.

Increase child benefit by £20 a week for all children.


Make childcare work for single parents

Extend Universal Credit to cover 100% of childcare costs, paid a month in advance.

Cover the upfront costs of childcare through a deposit scheme based on rights not discretion.

Expand childcare support to parents undertaking training and education.


Support single parents to enter and progress into sustainable fair paid work

Transform Jobcentre Plus, so it offers tailored, holistic support to single parents to enter training, education, and employment.

Scrap job-seeking conditions for parents with pre-school aged children and replace benefit sanctions with support tailored for single parents.

Introduce employment legislation to ensure single parents are paid at least the real living wage and abolish zero hours contracts.

Require employers to consider flexible working requests at the point of recruitment.

Invest in support for those combining unpaid care and paid work.


Make the Child Maintenance System fit for purpose

Abolish Child Maintenance Service charges for parents receiving and paying child maintenance.

Urgently establish an improved service for survivors of domestic and financial abuse.

Ensure enforcement powers available to the Child Maintenance Service are implemented so children receive the support they are entitled to.

Explore making a guaranteed minimum payment to children, when the paying parent fails to pay, while pursuing them for repayment when they have the means.

Undertake a full review and then reform of the Child Maintenance System.


Our 5 pledges are designed to ensure politicians understand the critical importance of these issues to achieving a fair society.

Let’s recognise the power of single parents’ voices and the strength of support behind their policy priorities.

Remember to use your vote. Together we can build a society where single parents and their children are truly valued and treated equally.