Welfare changes are crippling us, say Scottish single parents

New report shows lone parents being hit hardest by austerity measures north of the border


The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) have released a report today looking into the effects of austerity in one area of Scotland, and especially at the impact that changes to welfare reform have had.

The JRF found that for the community in Craigneuk in the North Lanarkshire authority, welfare changes were more of a concern than cuts to public services, which many respondents were not aware of.

Based on the 2012 Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, 36 per cent of people in the case study area of Craigneuk are income deprived, and 34 per cent are employment deprived. Craigneuk also has a relatively high number of council-owned properties and relatively high benefits take-up. After speaking to some of the people who live there, JRF concluded that :

“Recent and forthcoming austerity measures compound existing vulnerabilities that, in turn, may result in longer-term societal ‘risk shift’.”

Single parents are particularly concerned. As JRF point out, areas with a higher concentration of lone parents are also comparatively more deprived, with 29.4 per cent of lone parent families in Scotland living in the 15 per cent most deprived areas.

A relative lack of qualifications can put single parents at risk of unemployment, a situation the JRF find is compounded ‘as specialist Redistribution of social support and training services for lone parents are reduced or withdrawn’. On the whole, the financial situation of single mothers was worse than that of single fathers.

Changes to the welfare system have meant that single parents whose youngest child is over five must now claim Jobseeker’s Allowance instead of income support. This means they are expected to be actively seeking work, without coordinated support for childcare, putting them at increased risk of sanctions.

All respondents agreed that the only way to get back into work with this new system in place was to be given flexible, affordable childcare, which many felt did not exist.

The report also found that other welfare changes, although not especially targeted at single parents, may hit this group the hardest; for example the switch to monthly benefit payments, the 2011 freezing of child Benefit levels and the cuts to childcare provision.

One respondent said:

“… I’ve never been so much a financial cripple my whole entire life. If you are going to get people

to go back to work, I think the priority is to make sure it’s financially feasible for these people to go back to work.”

Respondents also referred to changes in transport services when describing the barriers to their employment, with one respondent saying she had to turn down a job because of difficulties with travel. Overall, JRF found a heightened sense of uncertainty and insecurity among respondents, with confusion about how planned changes, like the removal of the Spare Room Subsidy, would affect them and their families.

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

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33 Responses to “Welfare changes are crippling us, say Scottish single parents”

  1. JohnRich

    You should only have children if you can afford them. People with self-respect don’t sponge off others.

  2. sarntcrip

    if they want that to change the snp can’t deliver labour can

  3. Mike Stallard

    What are these people putting into the Welfare system?
    Is it polite to ask?

  4. Ulysses Jefferson

    I’m ashamed to admit it but I’m becoming more and more right wing over cases like single parents. I resent paying tax for somebody else’s kid when the father is probably long gone.

  5. CharlieChalk

    Pember Reeves wrote angrily of middle-class assertions that no one should have children until they can afford them. She pointed out that working families would never have any if they waited for that day.


    You need to educate yourself, read and think instead of spouting rubbish, if I was you I wouldn’t have ‘self-respect’.

    We all ‘sponge’ off others, we all rely on others in every aspect of our lives, try going a day without being reliant on the actions of others, silly plonk.

  6. CharlieChalk

    How very judgmental of you, how very right wing indeed.

  7. Frann Leach

    So you think children should be punished for the sins of their ne’er-do-well fathers?

  8. CharlieChalk

    Don’t think of it as a welfare state, think of it as a soceity, a soceity where we support one another and are not sooooo judgemental.

  9. Frann Leach

    Which people? The mothers are obviously putting in future citizens. The people who think they would be best left to starve? No idea what they’re putting in other than bile

  10. Frann Leach

    Labour can, but on past history, won’t. SNP is in a position to “encourage” them to stand by their ancient concern for the people, instead of rich donors

  11. Frann Leach

    I was extremely well paid when my partner left me, so I became a single parent. I had to stop working because the fares and childcare costs (in London) left me with not enough to feed them, let alone pay the bills.

  12. Radio Jammor

    Duh. The point of the welfare system is to help people in need. If they had the money to pay taxes/NI, they probably wouldn’t need help.

    As for getting them off welfare, why don’t you look into childcare costs that would enable parents to be able to work or educate themselves in order to work. Check then into the rates of pay and the availability of part-time jobs for single parents that meets the cost of living without welfare.

  13. Guest

    Oh yea, those evil kids should live in poverty because the dad beat his wife. Etc.

  14. Guest

    As ever, you want to deny people the basics and ensure kids suffer because of your bigotry – and of course you’ll then get the sort of permanent poverty class you can exploit for cheap labour there. What is it now, multiple citizenship tiers based on wealth?

    Your capitalist views are showing again.

  15. Leon Wolfeson

    He’s a capitalist. Talking to him about society is like talking about compassion to a banker.
    Oh wait, I’m being redundant.

  16. Guest

    The poor shouldn’t have kids in your world, right.
    Or anyone who can’t predict their income 18 years in the future, perfectly.

    And yes, you have no self-respect, you’re a grubby capitalist leecher.

  17. Leon Wolfeson

    The very rich like him? Can afford to be “self-reliant”. Except they’re not on things like, oh, policing because it’s cheaper for them to be vulgar libertarians and want spending on only what benefits them.

  18. Leon Wolfeson

    ,..But instead, they are lead by a Mr. Salmond, friend of a certain Mr. Murdoch.

    Oh well.

  19. IRejectFPTP

    You think the SNP are led by Alex Salmond? You need to catch up dude

  20. Frann Leach

    Ad hominem again. Try and find some rational arguments.

    And btw, Nicola Sturgeon is the leader of the SNP. Alex stood down after the referendum.

  21. Leon Wolfeson

    Oh, the Leader’s stepped behind the curtain again. Right.

    Even Farrage has done that.

  22. Guest

    Oh right, it’s not “rational” to discuss the close ties which make a mockery of your argument.

    No discussion Contrary To Dogma must be allowed, Comrade. No no, it’s an Ad hominen again, censorship must prevail even if those nasty British must be accused! Etc.

    The natural partner for the SNP is the Tories. Because they’ll give you Scottish independence, and quickly.

  23. Mike Stallard

    Look at it this way. A society made up of some 60 million people from all sorts of very different backgrounds, from all sorts of families and none, from all sorts of backgrounds and none. Some of us pay up and support others who do not pay anything, but who cost a lot of money and who demand a lot of services which is not cheap..
    Then we are open door to 600 million more people (and that is not counting families of people who quite often loathe us from all over the world).
    Can anyone help me on the Mathematics here?
    Oh – and the really deserving people get simply told to wait or get passed right over. But – hey – who cares?

  24. Guest

    You don’t pay, you’re leeching off the backs of the workers. And your hatred of the little the poor have is sad.

    Then you spout off because we don’t isolate the UK to suit you and your desire for even lower wages. As you note that your rich are the only “deserving” people, and screw the rest.

    How dare you not have even more, more quickly, and “who cares” about the peons.

  25. Frann Leach

    Very much not into dogma. Not a conformist of any shape, form or description, but I do appreciate a rational argument, and it seems you don’t have one.

  26. Frann Leach

    It’s interesting that you’re attacking people, but refuse to show your own face… well, not that interesting tbh

  27. Guest

    I’m commenting on a politician.

    Why are you so scared of that? Why must your Dear Leader be above criticism?

    The only attack here is your attempt at censorship by calling discussion an attack.

  28. Frann Leach

    Aye right. I’m so scared you can tell exactly who I am, and if you look, you can find out a lot more as well.

    I don’t gossip, it’s against my religion, so if you want to “discuss” how nasty our former leader Alex Salmond is, go harass someone else, please.

  29. Guest

    Ah, your religion of censorship does not allow “gossip” now, I see – you demand silence from those not of the Scottish “Favoured Race”, the truth being “harassment” now.

    I can tell you’re absolutely panicked about discussing the clear ties between Murdoch and Salmond. That you’re so frantic to stop open discuss about a public figure really does show what you plan for Scotland…

  30. Guest

    So you “appreciate” “argument” …when it agrees with you and your separatist agenda.


    Never mind the fact I was talking about a FACT about Salmond and Murdoch.
    Which you can’t allow. The Scottish nationalist leftist parties have said plenty about it as well, of course, it’s hardly simply because I’m British.

  31. Frann Leach

    I am English, Mr W

  32. Frann Leach

    gonna be a nightmare getting workers if none of them are allowed to have kids

  33. Guest

    Oh, so you’re just for censorship, Lord Blagger.
    As is clear. Right, well, I oppose you on principle then – free speech is important.

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