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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 January, 2005, 11:50 GMT
Single parents miss cheap credit
A plug and socket
Almost half of single parents owe money on household bills
Single parents are being forced into the arms of doorstep lenders, because they are denied access to mainstream banking, a new report warns.

Charity One Parent Families says three-quarters of single parents are using credit to manage their finances.

But many are forced to borrow from doorstep lenders and mail order catalogues, which can be expensive.

The charity wants the government and banks to do more to provide affordable credit and banking.

Bank access

More than one-quarter of single parents do not have a bank account, One Parent Families said.

It is time they had more help
Nicola Simpson, One Parent Families

This means many single parents miss out on direct debit savings.

Single parents are also more likely to have longstanding debts than two-parent families, the charity found.

According to One Parent Families, 40% of those surveyed said they were "always in debt", compared with only 28% of couples.

Single parents were twice as likely as couples to have arrears on household or consumer credit bills.

"On our helpline we get many calls from single mothers and fathers who have been through a family-break up and fear getting trapped in a spiral of debt. It is time they had more help," said One Parent Families chief executive Nicola Simpson.

"We need the financial sector and government to work together to deliver accessible advice and appropriate services for the many families who need help."

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