Emma Lunn: Single people are not second-class households

As the Government promises to help families, people living alone seem to be forgotten

Another day, another press release about how financial problems are pushing "families" to breaking point or another Government statement promising to help "hard-working families".

It depicts parents jabbing away at a calculator, frantically trying to make it all add up, struggling this, juggling that, heroically plodding off to work to keep the country afloat. If you dare live alone you don't get a mention.

Why is this? Do the powers-that-be or the companies churning out surveys actually think that somehow paying a mortgage and bills all on your own is somehow cheaper than splitting the very same costs with someone else? Or that single people don't pay tax? Or read newspapers?

Perhaps if you're not part of a "hard-working family" you must be the hard-working families' nemesis: the benefits scrounger, unemployed or unemployable, making no contribution to society or the economy?

This is rarely the case, of course. The fact is, according to the Office of National Statistics, around a third of households in the UK comprise a single person. The trend is set to rise too. Single-person households are projected to increase by 163,000 a year – from 6.8 million in 2006 to 10.9 million in 2031 – and singleton households could outnumber any other kind by 2031, according to the Government Office for Science.

Far from being a sign of romantic failure, it's many people's choice to live alone. Owning your own home as an individual surely stops you falling into the trap of being stuck in joint ownership with someone you no longer love or even like much?

Not all organisations ignore single people though. Comparison website Confused.com recently did a report on the "rise of singledom" in the UK. It came up with some terrible acronyms: FLAPers (financially liberated and positively single) and MOSHing (multiple occupant shared home). Awful jargon aside, the point of the report was to call for financial products to reflect various living situations. For example, life insurance that can be bought jointly with friends if they own a property together, or a legal right to a friend's possessions in the event of their death.

I can't see any of this happening any time soon. However, it would be a start if politicians and the like at least started recognising singletons as fully-fledged contributing citizens.

Credit card charges

It all looked promising last December. Back then, the Government announced it would ban excessive card fees by the end of 2012. This would mean goodbye to airlines charging £6 per person per flight for the privilege of paying by credit card. But, speaking this week, Treasury minister, Mark Hoban, wouldn't confirm the Government will stick to its pledge.

Meanwhile, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), which upheld a super complaint by consumer watchdog Which? on card surcharges in June last year, is yet to take any action against companies that hide card fees in the small print.

While the Government and OFT stall, consumers are still paying the price. Airlines, in particular, are continuing to impose heavy fees with one, Monarch, even upping its fees in the past six months. Even the DVLA, a government agency, is charging £2.50 if a customer pays by credit card. It's particularly galling when drivers have no choice about who they buy their tax disc from.

Promises count for nothing. What we need is action.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
Arts and Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio talks during the press conference for the film
films

Film follows park rangers in the Congo

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
i100
Sport
Adel Taraabt in action for QPR against West Ham earlier this month
footballQPR boss says midfielder is 'not fit to play football'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Administrator

    £25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Admini...

    Customer Service Executive / Inbound Customer Service Agent

    £18 - 23k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Customer Service Executiv...

    ASP.NET Web Developer / .NET Developer

    £60 - 65k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a ASP.NET Web Developer / ....

    Operational Risk Manager - Asset Management

    £60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...

    Day In a Page

    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album