Single mother Rachel Vallender with her son Luca
2:45am UK, Tuesday March 13, 2012
A quarter of a million children will be pushed deeper into poverty by the Government’s overhaul of the benefits system, according to Save the Children.
The charity warns that a “blind spot” in the new Universal Credit means 150,000 working single mothers could lose up to £68 a week, or £3,500 a year.
They would include a single mother with three children who earns about £242 a week, or just above the minimum wage.
Save the Children said gross income after housing costs would fall from £370 to £302.
They also predict it will hurt “second earners” in families – most of them women – with some households losing up to £1,800 per year.
Chief executive Justin Forsyth said: “Universal Credit will help some families but mums working hard to stay above the breadline are its big blind spot.
“It is incredibly hard bringing up three kids on £370 a week. Losing almost a fifth of that will push many families over the edge.
“The Government must make sure mums who want to work keep more of their incomes and get more support with childcare.
“Otherwise we’ll see fewer women in the workplace and more children growing up in poverty.”
But the Government claims this new report focuses too much on extreme examples.
The Department for Work and Pensions said: “Save the Children are wrong to assert that lone parents will lose as a result of the introduction of Universal Credit.
“The truth is 600,000 lone parents will be better off under a system which will incentivise work and make work pay.
“Under Universal Credit 80,000 more families, including lone parents, will be able to claim childcare support – no matter how few hours they work.”
Universal Credit will help some families but mums working hard to stay above the breadline are its big blind spot. It is incredibly hard bringing up three kids on £370 a week. Losing almost a fifth of that will push many families over the edge.
Save the Children chief executive Justin Forsyth
Single mother Rachel Vallender currently works 22 hours a week and wants to set an example to her son Luca, but fears she may be better off not working after the changes come in next year.
“It’s not just about me, it’s about my son. He only has me as a role model. I’m the only parent that he has and I want him to have a parent who goes out to work and earns wages to buy food for him, to buy clothes for him. I don’t want him to see me not working and think that’s OK,” she told Sky News.
Ahead of the Budget on March 21, Save the Children has launched the Mums United campaign in collaboration with Gingerbread, the Daycare Trust and Netmums to put pressure on the Chancellor to help the hardest-working families.