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

News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
News
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
newsTV star had been reported missing
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
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

    Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

    £50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

    SAS Business Analyst - Credit Risk - Retail Banking

    £450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...

    Project Manager - Pensions

    £32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

    KYC Analyst, Birmingham - £200-£250 p/d

    £200 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: KYC Analyst, Key Banking Client, Bi...

    Day In a Page

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone