When a new baby is born, there’s usually two very happy parents and numerous family and friends only too happy to join in the celebrations of the new arrival. They say it takes two to tango, so why when thing go wrong do a fifth of single parents in the UK have to go it alone.
According to research commissioned by PayPlan, 21.4% of single parents in the UK are not receiving child maintenance payments, which based on the basic weekly rate of £41 a week despite qualifying for them.
Personally I am shocked that the basic weekly rate is so low. Children are expensive, very expensive. How is £41 supposed to cover the basics needed for a growing child every week. When Olly was a baby, we were spending at least £15 per week in nappies and milk alone and that’s not even covering his clothes, his food, the equipment that you need when you have a baby or the electricity needed to keep him warm at night.
As he grows older I can only imagine what the costs are going to be. It’s estimated that for your average four year old, uniform costs exceed £241 alone and that’s only to clothe them when they’re out of the house!
The research found that single parents could be missing out on £2,132 a year yet despite being entitled to that money, there was a lack of information available to single parents about the options available to them.
Alarmingly, only 23.8% of single parents who undertook the research found the current system simple and easy to understand. The remaining respondents said that the process was “not worth the hassle” with some going far as to say “the process doesn’t work”. I know it happens but how could you not want to contribute to your own child?
With a lack of support out there, PayPlan have created the Child Maintenance Hub where single parents can find a wealth of information. The Hub gives simple informative advice including a handy downloadable guide on the child maintenance process explaining family and statutory arrangements.
For many, being a single parent is really hard work with many balls to juggle and fulfilling the demanding role of both parents. The research highlighted that 71% of single parents surveyed admitted they were struggling financially so it’s hugely reassuring for friends and family who are in these circumstances that they have somewhere to go for professional support and advice. Often having a chat with someone who knows the ins and outs of the system, can do wonders.
If you’re in a similar situation you might find it reassuring to know, you’re not alone. You can find out more from the Child Maintenance Hub here.