On Sunday I was lucky enough to celebrate my first Mother’s Day with my little boy. I had a lovely day and I hope all the Mums in my constituency did too. One of my biggest concerns at the moment though is the high number of single mothers who are being hit by the benefit freeze.
New analysis by the House of Commons library, commissioned by Labour, has revealed that nearly two million single mothers are affected by the Government’s benefit freeze meaning a lone parent who is not in employment is around £900 a year worse off – and a parent with two children is over £1,200 a year worse off.
It was in 2016 that the Conservatives froze most working age benefits for four years, including Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support, Housing Benefit, Universal Credit, Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits and Child Benefit.
There are 1,650,300 lone-parent families on tax credits in the UK (December 2018), of whom 1,558,400 (94%) are single mothers. As with so many other areas of life, it is women who get a raw deal.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has said the benefit freeze is the “single biggest policy driver behind rising poverty in the UK”.
The Government’s own statistics published by the Department for Work and Pensions on 28 February showed that 14 million people are in relative poverty after housing costs and 4.1 million children are in relative poverty (after housing costs). I’ve once again called on the Government to end the freeze immediately and to end the poverty that thousands of children experience every day.