Thousands of lone parents will get extra help to get training and work experience while their children are at nursery school. They will also be able to keep £50 of their wages before losing any benefit if they get jobs for less than 16 hours a week, Yvette Cooper said today.
Yvette Cooper announced that parents of three to six year old children in South London, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire and Tees Valley will be the first to get this extra help through new Progression to Work Pathfinders.
The new plans will help lone parents to start preparing for work through things like training, work experience or getting CVs ready, or to find jobs that fit with nursery and school hours.
There will be an obligation on lone parents to take up help, but only during hours when their children are at school or nursery school. The aim is to ensure that those parents with young children remain close to the labour market and are ready to look for a job when the time is right, rather than losing all contact with the working world.
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Yvette Cooper said:
“Helping parents into jobs so they can support their families is the best way to lift children out of poverty. We know that around 80 per cent of lone parents are already working or would like to work. We want to help them do that in a way that also supports their family life.
“We are giving parents more support to get ready to go back to work while their children are at nursery school, but in return we do expect people to take up this extra help on offer.”
Unemployed parents already get help to find a job as they drop their children off at school. The £10 million School Gates Employment Initiative is funding 25 Local Authorities in the most deprived areas of the country to help out of work parents into jobs.
Three in five lone parents already work by the time their youngest child reaches ten – a figure which has been rising over the past decade. According to the latest Household Labour Force Survey (2009 Q2), around 80 per cent of all lone parents and around 70 per cent of lone parents with a youngest child under the age of seven are either working or would like to work. Figures show that 635,000 lone parents have been helped into work through the New Deal for Lone Parents since 1998.
Notes to editors
1. The Government committed to introduce the Progression to Work Pathfinders in the December 2008 White Paper Realising Expectations and Increasing Support: Reforming Welfare for the Future.
2. The Progression to Work Pathfinders will be introduced from October 2010 in four areas – South London, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire and Tees Valley – for lone parents on Income Support (IS) and partners of IS and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants with a youngest child aged three to six.
3. Progression to Work will provide a framework to help many more parents with younger children prepare for work. It will build on the current lone parent support of regular interviews and action planning, but parents will also be expected to undertake work-related activity and specific activities set by advisers. Safeguards will be put in place to ensure parents are not penalised.
4. The Social Security Advisory Committee is conducting a formal consultation on the Progression to Work regulations.
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