It’s estimated that there are over 163,000 lone parents with 295,000 children in Scotland. The mission of One Parent Families Scotland, a small charity based in Edinburgh, is to ensure that one parent families have the support, contacts, and confidence needed to play a full part in Scotland’s economic and social life.
The charity approached Pro Bono Economics as they wanted assistance in designing and estimating useful performance indicators for their flexible childcare project based in Dundee, which allows clients to pay for childcare by the hour rather than per session. Pro Bono Economics matched One Parent Families Scotland with Paul Hare, a Professor of economics at Heriot Watt University.
Paul found that the flexible childcare programme might struggle to breakeven financially, however if the charity raised the fees for childcare by 50p per hour, it would be able to cover its costs. In terms of wider social benefits, he predicted that benefits to the individual of being able to remain in employment could potentially be very large. Further research might look at the costs and benefits of parents remaining economically active, as opposed to having to stop employment to look after children and possibly rely on benefits.