21 October 2018   |  Last Updated 25-03-2015 08:35

      Figures reveal North West has most lone parents on Job Seeker's Allowance outside London

      MORE lone parents claim job seeker's allowance in the North West more than anywhere else outside of the capital.

      The statistics, released by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), reveal that although the number of lone parents claiming JSA has fallen, the North West has the second highest amount of claimants.

      Lone parents are anyone listed as single, widowed, divorced or separated.

      In the North West there were 10,735 lone parent claimants in January 2015, a drop from last year’s 15,590.

      Despite the fall in claimants, Manchester Central Food Bank say 15 per cent of their visitors are single parents, rising from 10 per cent in 2013 to 2014.

      Liam Hannan, manager at Manchester Central Food Bank, said: “We see huge numbers of single parents coming to our food banks and it tends to be sanctions that are hitting them the hardest.”

      Mr Hannan suggests one concern felt by single parents coming into the food bank is the Bedroom Tax.

      He said: “Joint custody of children impacts the Bedroom Tax and sometimes this can push single parents over the edge.”

      However, despite the increase of single parents using the food bank, Mr Hannan explains the figure is rising slower than other visitors, as overall the numbers of users of their services have doubled in the past year.

      Mr Hannan added: “The numbers for single parents coming in are rising slowly, so the Job Centre must be doing better by single parents.

      “But it is never positive to see more people using food banks, there are far too many people left behind.”

      Ian Mitchell, from DWP and Greater Manchester’s Job Centre Plus district office, said: “There are big cities in the North West and you find a huge number of lone parents in big inner cities.

      “Lone parents in the north west may face more barriers to go back to work than in other regions, such as literacy problems or language difficulties where they need support.”

      He added: “It is straightforward for claimants to claim JSA or Universal Credit, I am not aware of any difficulties.

      “We are seeing big improvements and our unemployment register is reducing so we are able to give more one to one support for those who need it.”

      By Rebekah Dewhurst