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Unemployed lone parents not receiving support, says charity

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by Kay Mitchell

Lone-parent campaign group Gingerbread has said new rules mean unemployed single parents are facing severe pressure to return to work by the Government.

According to the charity, new regulations means almost 70,000 single parents with a child aged 10 to 16 will now receive jobseekers’ allowance instead of income support.

Currently, single parents aged over 18 whose youngest child is aged 12 or more has receive Jobseeker’s Allowance – currently £64.30 per week.

However, unlike income support, those on jobseekers’ allowance are questioned about their efforts to find employment, meaning those who see their benefits switched will have to prove they are actively looking for work.

However, following an investigation, Gingerbread discovered that many Jobcentres were failing to help single parents find suitable work or offer the right training.

Gingerbread chief executive, Fiona Weir, comments: “The Government promised single parents more support in return for tough work search conditions but the back up just isn’t there.”

According to Ms Weir, many lone parents have been out of the workplace for many years and are now being put “under intense pressure” to find work by ministers who did not “recognise the real-world constraints that make it hard for them to find and keep a job”.

In response, Work Secretary Yvette Cooper, said: “Lone parents are entitled to personal support and advice to help with childcare, training or finding part-time work.”

“We’re making it easier for parents to look for jobs that fit with school hours – both through regulations and developing changes to Jobcentres too,” added Ms Cooper.

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News posted: October 26, 2009

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