07 February 2007

Lone Parents in Coventry -- Childcare

John Hutton, the Work and Pensions minister, is considering changing the benefit system for single parents.

Single parents can currently receive Income Support without having to seek work until their youngest child is 16.

Hutton wants to cut it to 12.

- It would affect parents caring for disabled children (a quarter of single parents claiming income support)
- In countries like Sweden and Denmark,who have up to 80% of lone parents in work, they have a state-run, well-funded, system of childcare, to support lone parents

It's another issue that could cause a backbench rebellion, just when authority is draining away from Tony Blair.
Labour MP Lynne Jones, who played a prominent role in the backbench rebellion when 47 MPs voted against cuts in lone parent benefits in the late 1990s, told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme: "It does dismay me that we are still pandering to this stereotype of the lazy, work-shy, lone parent who doesn't do a very good job of bringing up her children anyway."

Clare Tickell, of children's charity NCH, said many parents wanted to work but struggled because of a lack of support. "Encouraging lone parents to work is a step towards tackling child poverty but they need a package of flexible support to help them juggle the demands of family life and employment," she said.
In that same vein, Chris Pond, chief executive of One Parent Families, gave this speech, archived on the Daycare Trust website:

We’ve long supported Daycare Trust in their campaign for a Children’s Centre in every neighbourhood, which we believe could transform the lives of lone parents and their families.

Children’s Centres could help lone parents to study, enable access to work, provide a contact point for local business and training organisations, provide support services, health services and help to support children’s learning.

Lone parents want somewhere that is safe, local, high quality and affordable, providing services that are both flexible and reliable. Flexible, because a main reason that lone parents fear moving into work is that they believe employers will be inflexible to their family needs – and they're right much of the time!

So they need to trust that childcare will be responsive to their needs at work.

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jack said...

Single parents can currently receive Income Support without having to seek work until their youngest child..
にほんNCH