New Deal (Lone Parents)

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 12th November 2001.

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Photo of Alistair Darling Alistair Darling The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 2:30 pm, 12th November 2001

I have just said that the problem with the new deal for lone parents is essentially that it was voluntary and that too many people, perhaps for too many years, did not know that initiatives such as the new deal, the working families tax credit and others would help them into work. That is why we have decided to make it a condition of receiving benefit that lone parents will have to come and find out what is on offer. Once people know that they can get help with child care, for example, or that the working families tax credit will increase the amount of pay that can be taken home, many more—who showed little interest until then in finding work—show much more interest. It is just a pity that the party of which the hon. Lady is a member opposed the new deal in the first place.