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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Games Developer - HTML5

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With extensive experience and a...

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£26000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Product Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to on-going expansion, this leading provid...

Recruitment Genius: Shift Leaders - Front of House Staff - Full Time and Part Time

£6 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a family ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Racism in Britain: Labour's leadership candidates explain how they’d tackle racial inequality

Independent Voices
 

We are facing the greatest refugee crisis since WWII

Mary Creagh
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'