Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Single parent prejudice challenged

Leaders of the three main political parties have signed up to a pledge to challenge prejudice against single parent families

Leaders of the three main political parties have signed up to a pledge to challenge prejudice against single parent families.

The pledge is part of a Let's Lose The Labels campaign by charity Gingerbread to fight the peddling of stereotypes about single parents.

Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg have all signed a pledge to "challenge prejudice against single parent families and support Gingerbread's campaign".

Gingerbread chief executive Fiona Weir said that when the charity was founded 92 years ago it had to fight stigmatisation of children born out of wedlock as "bastards". Nowadays, it fights against the labelling of lone mothers and fathers as scroungers or bad parents.

A survey carried out by Gingerbread found that 83% of single parents believe that they are portrayed in a bad light.

And research by pollsters YouGov found that the proportion of people who believe that most single parents don't work has increased to 65% at a time when the employment rate among lone mothers and fathers has in fact risen to almost 60%.

While discussion of single parents often suggests that a large proportion are teenagers who have never married, in fact they account for only 2%, said Ms Weir. The average age of single parents is in fact 36 and most have been married, she said.

Ms Weir added: "Single parents are fed up with being portrayed as 'benefit scroungers' or 'bad mothers'. We want to lose these labels in the run up to the general election and welcome support from party leaders as a first step."

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