Focus needs to be placed on helping single parents who are facing the possibility of debt problems.
That is the suggestion of the Child Poverty Action Group, which has called for political parties to provide protection for such people.
Single parents are twice as likely to be in poverty as married couples, making it more difficult for them to raise families, said head of policy Imran Hussain.
He suggested a tax system that provides incentives for marriage is “poor value for money”, since it would lift just 10,000 children out of poverty – compared to 100,000 if investment in benefits and tax credits is made.
“Single parents and their children need support and understanding, not punishment through the tax system,” said Mr Hussain. “We should be looking at what works, rather than let ideology drive policy.”
It comes after Scottish Widows found that many parents are being forced to return to work in order to combat rising debt problems.
By Andy Mackay