The Law Relating to
What Your Local Authority
Can Do For You
What Your MPs and Local
Councillors Can Do For You
What The Media
Can Do For You
DWP Consultation: In Work, Better Off
This Consultation Ends On October 31st
The EO Campaign website has published an introduction, and walkthrough which includes sample responses.
One Parent Families/Gingerbread
The national support charity, One Parent Families has lobbied the Government about the proposals set out in the Green Paper.
We can find some useful background information and statistics in the OPF response
to the Government's David Freud review 'Reducing dependency, increasing opportunity: options for the future of welfare to work' (22 pages) published in April 2007.
Here is a summary of some of the points included in the response to the Freud Report:
OPF states that there are currently 150,000 lone parents on Income Support whose children are aged 12+.
- A universal requirement to search for work is inappropriate, "expensive, unfair and ineffectual. "
- A key factor in the increase in lone parent employment has been the introduction of tax credits. This leads to more sustained employment than for example the voluntary New Deal for Lone Parents where nearly a third of participants who gained employment via the scheme were back on benefits within a year.
- The OPF report quotes research from other countries where a similar welfare to work programme was attempted.
- We may or may not want to use the general statistics about the characteristics of unemployed lone parents of older children ( p.5 lack of qualifications etc ) but there are some very relevant points about lone parents of disabled children. OPF quotes one parent :
"I am frightened about what will happen when they bring in the new rules for
single parents on income support. I really cannot work and that will not have
changed by the time my children are 12. I explained things at a work focused
interview last year and they agreed I had no time for a job. All 3 of my children
get middle care rate DLA and 2 of them get lower rate mobility DLA as well."
- OPF also makes the following point :
" Many parents also feel that their child's teenage years are particularly important
in terms of their parenting responsibilities; and recent Government focus on anti-
social behaviour may have helped to re-enforce this message. The Respect Action
Plan for example notes "Factors such as poor parenting, lack of supervision,
family conflicts and a poor relationship between parents and their children can all
increase the chances of a child behaving anti-socially later in life". " ( p.6)
Pages 11-14 set out the main difference between the terms and conditions of Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance.
OPF summarises the differences as follows:
- The main differences in the regimes are the frequency of interviews, the
requirement to be available for work and to take steps towards securing employment and the nature of the sanctioning regime, which would impact heavily on the children.
- Jobseekers have to be available for work of at least 16 hours and exemptions would have to be put in place for lone parents who cannot fulfil this requirement. (OPF cites the instance of lone parents of disabled children)
- The difficulty for some lone parents with caring responsibilities in attending training courses and full-time work experience.
- The cost of implementing the JSA regime in comparison with the Income Support system : admin, paperwork, adviser time spent ensuring compliance etc. A recent Parliamentary Answer suggested that the extra cost would be between £6 million and £10 million.
- The jobs are not sustainable. Over half of Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claims are now from repeat claimants, ie people who found work while on JSA then become unemployed again. Nearly a third of participants in the voluntary New Deal for Lone Parents who find jobs, then return to claim Jobseeker's Allowance within a year.