What about the hard-working singles?

If you don't live with a partner and kids then your government does not want to know

 

Share

Prepare to step back in amazement at the latest figures to be dragged out of the Office for National Statistics and presented as a new way to depress us. No, this week's most worrying financial scandal is not the terrible plight of redundant bankers; it is that the number of people living alone in Britain is increasing 10 times as fast as the general population, and is now double what it was in 1974. These new figures are remarkably similar to the old figures. In 2012, the census showed that 29 per cent of households consist of only one person. In 2011, the government promised to address the growing singles problem by "promoting marriage". In 2010, we learnt that single people spend an average £250,000 more over a lifetime than those who live in couples. This time, according to LV insurance, it's even worse. The company has crunched the numbers and discovered, "most worryingly", that 60 per cent of solo dwellers don't have a financial back-up plan, such as, err, life insurance from LV. If they lost their jobs, 24 per cent reckon that their savings would last them a fortnight.

This time, the government's strategy for addressing the singles problem is not nearly so proactive as "promoting marriage", and seems instead to consist of reciting the mantra "hard-working families" repeatedly, to hypnotise us into thinking that they care. "Hard-working families" are less a policy area than an incantation to ward off the evil eye. To politicians, there is no such thing as people; only "families", who work hard, versus the rest, who are "scroungers". If you don't live with a partner and kids then your government does not want to know.

At some point, all the media trainers must have settled on the "hard-working family" as a symbolic image, like "baby rabbits" or "free chocolate", to which no right-thinking person could object. I think the same speechwriters must train the chuggers who approach shoppers with questions such as "Do you care about freedom?" And faith in the hard-working family (H-WF) is a creed which crosses political divides. In the past month, the H-WF has been invoked by people as diverse as Gerry Adams (protesting against water bills), David Cameron (deploring striking Tube workers, none of whom has a family, presumably), the Taxpayers' Alliance, the Citizens' Advice Bureau, and The Sun. Only the Labour Party's "Un-Credible Shrinking Man" Party Political Broadcast, which pokes fun at Nick Clegg, ends with an appeal to the "hard-working people of Britain". People? Did they miss the memo?

It strikes me that the fastest-growing group in the country might be a constituency worth addressing, but it seems that nobody in Westminster wants to acknowledge it. So who's going to form a Hard-Working Single People's Party in time for the 2015 election? It would have 29 per cent of votes without working very hard at all.

twitter.com/@katyguest36912

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: ENGLISH TEACHER REQUIRED - Humbe...

Chemistry Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: We are looking for a Qualified C...

Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are currently...

Year 1 Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Year 1 Primary Supply Teachers ne...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Take a moment to imagine you're Ed Miliband...

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
 

Letters: No vote poses difficult questions – so why rush?

Independent Voices
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits