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How can the next Scottish Government help single parents?

STV News has spoken to two third sector organisations to find answers.

By STV News

Published 18 Apr 2016.

It is difficult to raise a child and even tougher when you are on your own.

Single parent families are more likely to fall into poverty and when they do it is the children which suffer. Deprivation is often passed down from one generation to the next.

From April 2017 the next Scottish Government will be in charge of a separate welfare system and other powers which could be used to offer new ways of helping people out of poverty.

We asked two organisations which work with single parents what they think the next Scottish Government's priorities should be to help their service users.

Clare Simpson, project manager.

Last year we published the report 'In the Red, In the Pink, In Between' which painted a picture of family finances in Scotland.

An Ipsos MORI poll of 1,000 parents in Scotland showed that while some families were doing well, others were struggling financially. Overwhelmingly and disproportionately, single parents were struggling.

In the last year:

When you're not sure where the next meal is coming from or how you'll find money for your child's new shoes, bringing up children is a stressful business. If Scotland is serious about addressing poverty, it urgently needs to make life fairer for single parents and their children.

As a starting point, the Scottish Government must create the conditions in which single parent families can thrive.

We urge the new Scottish Government to: ·

To give their children the best possible start in life single parents need a decent income, fair work and the quality childcare to make it possible.

This isn't an impossible dream: Scotland has the powers to make it a reality. Now let's make it happen.

Satwat Rehman, director.

Families headed by a single parent make up a quarter of families.

The parents we work with are proud of their families and what they have achieved as single parents in the face of the challenges and obstacles they encounter.

Sadly children in single parent families are twice as likely to live in poverty as those in two parent families. OPFS campaigns for a Scotland in which single parents and their children are free from poverty and stigma.

We believe the next Scottish Government should consider the important caring role that single parents have and the added challenges that they face in the workplace juggling work and home life.

When we consulted parents these were the changes they prioritised:

Single parents face specific challenges -this is because most single-handedly juggle employment with childrearing responsibilities.

Additionally single parents, 93% of whom are women, are more at risk of multiple disadvantages, such as low qualifications, limited work experience, low self-confidence, debt, housing problems, domestic violence, ill health and disability.

So, if we have policies that succeed for parents who single-handedly care for children they are likely to work for all parents.