Yesterday, myself and Amy Callaghan MP visited the Glasgow headquarters of an organisation which is working to change lives and challenge poverty, and spoke with parents there about the issues that are affecting them.
One Parent Families Scotland was established in 1944 and today is the leading charity working with single parent families in Scotland. They work alongside single parents and their families, creating ways to overcome barriers, changing their lives and fulfilling their potential.
The parent roundtable had been organised specifically so that Amy and I could hear first-hand from parents about how life is for them right now and how things could be improved.
As you might expect, the cost-of-living crisis was the top issue that parents wanted to talk about. In particular, the cost of energy prices are still cutting into household incomes severely and the recent withdrawal of UK Government support is causing concern and hardship.
Really concerning too is the impact of harsh new British Government policy which imposes severe conditions on low-paid single parents in work. There has been a clear trend of parents seeking assistance from One Parent Families Scotland recently because they have been sanctioned by their local job centre.
Across the board, the UK Child Maintenance Service also continues to cause problems for parents who now have little faith in it to ensure that children are supported properly.
There were some positive takeaways though - the main one being the massive impact that Scottish Government policies are having. Parents spoke highly of their experiences with Social Security Scotland and in particular, of the huge help that the Scottish Child Payment has been to help them afford essentials for their kids every week.
Both Amy and I are very grateful to One Parent Families Scotland and to all of the parents who gave up their time to speak with us. These conversations really do help us to not only challenge the UK Government on where they're getting things wrong, but to propose workable policies that would be of benefit to families and to wider society.
If you want to learn more about the work of One Parent Families Scotland, or what support they can provide, visit opfs.org.uk
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