Single parent families one of worst hit financially by COVID-19

Single parents are amongst the social groups to have experienced the hardest economic shocks as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, new analysis reveals.

Research by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex confirms that the earnings of households across the UK have fallen, with lowest earners suffering disproportionately.

The earnings of single parents fell by more than double the amount experienced by households with children and more than one adult. Their average weekly household earnings fell £36, from £511 in February to £475 in April.

But single-parent households saw their average weekly earnings fall by £73, from £326 to £253 over the same period.

The figures are based on respondents aged between 20 and 65 who participate in the regular Understanding Society survey, one of the largest household panel studies in the world.

More than 17,000 people were asked about their financial circumstances in the last week of April, and what their circumstances had been in January and February.

Joe Richardson, research and policy officer at Gingerbread   – a charity that provides support for single-parent families – said this group had been hit with a ‘triple penalty’ as a result of the crisis. Mr. Richardson stated that many single parents had found themselves furloughed while experiencing increased costs because of their children not attending school or nursery, or by having their maintenance payments reduced, delayed or withdrawn.

“Prior to COVID-19 almost half of single parents were in poverty. The pandemic has meant many of these families have faced indescribable hardships on a day-to-day basis. It is not uncommon for single parents to have to choose between feeding themselves or feeding their children – it really is that stark.”

Our family and divorce solicitors here at Price Slater Gawne have had many clients contact them regarding reductions in maintenance payments, maintenance payments being stopped altogether and the financial constraints of being furloughed or being made redundant.

We have discussed missed maintenance payments in more detail here.

Our family and divorce team have also been involved in cases where decisions were made on a financial settlements or orders pre-COVID-19, yet share prices, valuations of businesses or values of investments have plummeted (Barder Events).

If your financial circumstances have been impacted by COVID-19 and you have legal issues relating to maintenance or financial orders, please call to speak to one of our divorce and financial experts; Nicholas Clough or Carole Nettleton on 0161 615 5554, by email to or via livechat at  to find out how we can help you.