Thousands of single parents in Dacorum could face extra pressures as the UK goes into lockdown

There are over 5,000 lone parents in the borough

Families across Dacorum are juggling working and having the children at home and for single parents that can prove more difficult.

Thosands of single parents in Dacorum could face extra pressures as the UK goes into lockdown. (C) Shutterstock

Thosands of single parents in Dacorum could face extra pressures as the UK goes into lockdown. (C) Shutterstock

With schools closed, homes in lockdown and job insecurity rife, experts are warning these families will be hit hard by the outbreak.

Charities are being “inundated” with calls from single parents across the UK in desperate need of help because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In Dacorum, there are about 5,313 lone parents with dependent children.

The Government has pledged to support the most vulnerable households.

The charity Gingerbread helps single mothers and fathers across England and Wales.

Victoria Benson, the charity's chief executive, said they had seen an influx of calls from anxious parents in response to the outbreak.

She said: “Our helplines for the local groups have been overwhelmed with single parents asking, what do they do, as well as practical questions about isolation and lots of financial issues, as well as lots of issues about maintenance and issues with the non-resident parent.”

And with schools across the country now closed indefinitely, Benson said she was very concerned that single parents will have to juggle multiple roles within households.

She added: “We’re all expected to look after our children from home but most single parents can’t work from home.

"Even if you are paid to work from home, how can you work from home and do your job and look after your children at the same time?”

Despite an initial period of confusion, the government has clarified that children under 18 with separated parents can continue to visit both parents throughout the lockdown.

Last week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a raft of measures to support businesses and low income families, including an increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance and Working Tax Credits.

He said: “Together these measures will benefit over four million of our most vulnerable households.”

However, charities have warned that a lack of support could further push cash-strapped families into poverty.

Rehman added: “We need to ensure that authorities are considering the needs of single parents in their planning and prioritisation of services and to ensure our benefits system anchors us all from the rising tide of poverty.”