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London single parent households: 53% living in poverty amid cost-of-living-crisis

London single parent households are living in poverty as they struggle to make ends meet due to soaring cost-of-living inflation, research has shown.

According to charity organisation Trust for London, 53% of single parents in London are living in poverty after housing costs.

Despite living in one of the world’s wealthiest countries, thousands of households desperately struggle to provide their children basic necessities.

The charity emphasised poverty is higher in London than in any other region or country in the UK, with figures showing that between 2019 and 2020, half of the single parents in the capital were more than four times in poverty than any other types of households.

Liberal Democrat London Assembly member, and former chair of the London Assembly’s Economy Committee, Hina Bokhari said: “Unfortunately, the Government’s actions and broken promises are making it harder for working families to cope with rising prices – plunging them in a cost-of-living crisis.”

Bokhari added that spiralling energy bills and fuel prices combined with issues from global supply chains are the key factors driving inflation to all time high.

“Working families are being ignored by this government as childcare costs soar and parents struggle to balance work and home life,” Bokhari said.

“Many single parent families find themselves in a spiral whereby they cannot afford adequate childcare in order to then focus on progress in their career and as a result increase their income and living standards.”

One underlying factor is the pressure of rising food costs going up by 25% in the past two years, affecting Londoners on the lowest income the most.

Experts say the rise in food prices due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has seen food and drink inflation up by 19.1% in March.

The severity of the inflation continues to see single parents on low income spending a large proportion of their money on food.

Despite the economic disparities in the capital, the uneven patterns in income continues to grow.

As a result, single parents are spending significantly a great chunk of their income on food, bills and fuel.

Layla Ahmed, 37, a single mother of three from North London, said: “I am having to rely on food banks to provide my children and I for food and essentials.

“My rent has almost doubled what it was pre-Covid and I simply cannot afford to work because of the high childcare cost.”

Reports on the Trust for London’s website has shown that single parents with children are more likely to be in poverty than any other type of household.

In context, 50% of single parents in London have experienced poverty, more than four times the proportion of couples without children.

In the UK the cost of living rose at the fastest rate in four decades by 11.1% in October 2022 putting those most vulnerable at risk.

Single parent Sharon from North London found on the website of leading charity working with single parents, Gingerbread, said: “I’ve used up all my savings over the last couple of years to cover essentials, and now I’ve nothing to fall back on.

“We’re not poor enough to be entitled to welfare support, but we’re not rich enough to get by without using credit. I don’t qualify for any help, but I can’t afford to get by.”

Sharon admitted that there are people worse off but the government needs to acknowledge that people like her are also struggling.

Chief Executive at Buttle UK, the charity organisation supporting children in the UK who have experienced financial crisis, Joseph Howes, commented: “Benefits are not meeting the severe need that certainly single parent households have and work is not bringing people out of poverty.

“Applications have increased by 40% since COVID, 85% of the grants we award are to families led by single parent households.”

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