Since 1997, there has been considerable progress in tackling exclusion among lone parent households. Provisions in the New Deal for Lone Parents have been successful not only in improving job readiness of lone parents, but also in moving them into work. Indeed, employment rates for this group increased from 45.3 per cent. in 1997 to 56.6 per cent, in 2006. There are now around a million lone parents in work for the first time ever.
The Social Exclusion Action Plan announces a series of new demonstration projects to support families at risk of, or already experiencing, social exclusion. One of the guiding principles of the action plan is that we need to move towards more sophisticated approaches for identifying the specific factors which place people at risk of, or protect them from, negative outcomes. This is vital to ensure that programmes are targeted at those who need support most and at those who are likely to benefit.