The Women’s Equality Party expresses concern over the situation of single parents, who are twice as likely to be stuck in low-paid jobs as other workers and also far too likely to suffer in-work poverty. This is a threat to the physical and emotional wellbeing of children who live in single-parent households. Approximately nine out of 10 single parents are women.
Child maintenance support is fundamental to the large majority of single parents, who otherwise may not be able to afford meeting their child’s basic needs. Still, only half of single parents receive child maintenance payments from the other parent. To seek help from the Child Maintenance Service, they must pay an application fee in addition to a 4% collection charge if the Child Maintenance Service has to step in to collect the money.
Party Conference calls on the government to urgently address this situation by speeding up the Child Maintenance Service inquiry currently under way by the House of Commons Select Committee on Work and Pensions, and ensure that the results draw from the best practices in other countries, e.g. where child maintenance services guarantee the payments of the support so that children do not need to suffer if their absent parent is not able to pay the maintenance on time.
WE also support the Gingerbread campaign for scrapping child maintenance charges and supporting single parents to bring in a decent income to their homes.
Party Conference furthermore reaffirms its policies on affordable, universal childcare, which would significantly reduce child poverty and improve the wellbeing of children who are raised in single-parent households, as well as that of their parents.