Most single parents who experience problem debt have been affected by more than one factor, but these can be grouped into four main areas:
- Not enough income to cover living costs
82% of single parents in problem debt cited ‘not enough income to meet living costs’ as a reason for using credit – they were almost twice as likely to cite this than any other reason.
This struggle to make ends meet drives borrowing to pay for essentials like household bills, groceries and clothing for their children
- Relationship breakdown
Just under half (44%) of single parents cited relationship breakdown or divorce as a reason for being in problem debt – common expenses included legal fees, moving home and the cost of disentangling finances
- Economic abuse
48% of single parents in our survey sample had experienced some form of economic abuse by a former partner, including controlling the acquisition of money and resources, limiting how money and economic resources are used, and undermining the ability to maintain economic resources
- Life shocks
Life shocks feature prominently in the reasons single parents cite for being in problem debt, including illness or disability (28%), moving home (17%) and unemployment (15%)
How can we fix this?
Our report sets out recommendations for the government to protect single parents against problem debt and support those affected.
Our recommendations can be grouped into three key priorities: