As I sat on the Tube on my daily commute, having completed the school run, it made for depressing reading. According to a recent report it doesn’t make financial sense for a lot of single parents to work.
Great, I’m just doing this for the love of it then.
It’s a truism I’m all too well aware of but seeing it in print just made it all the more miserable.
The report was commissioned by Gingerbread, a group that campaigns on behalf of single parents, and found that the price of childcare meant that the idea that work was the best way out of poverty was “far from a reality”.
I’ve always worked. I can’t say that if I won the National Lottery I would continue to do so as it’s not my raison d’être (those lucky people who say that really don’t deserve to be winners), however, I don’t expect something for nothing. If I want to be able to look after Master A, to have a nice home, to go on the odd holiday, I know it comes as a result of hard work.
Yet, since the arrival Master A work has become a battle, a struggle, something of a financial conundrum. The days when I had disposal income have long gone as the costs of being a lone parent stretch.
The Gingerbread report found that a lot of single parents are facing huge debts as a result of childcare costs, forced to borrow from friends, family and banks.
I’m fortunate that I have my parents to call upon. If they weren’t part of the equation, stepping in to cover childcare, it really wouldn’t be financially viable to continue to work. They take no money from me, saving me thousands.
The day will come when they are no longer in a position to help out.
Cross-party politicians all agree that something needs to be done to overhaul the childcare system, and repeatedly promise to make work pay. Wealth generation is the key to all their promises, after all.
With the General Election looming it would be nice to see whoever wins deliver on that promise.
Working Mum, not holding her breath.