Social Security Benefits: Lone Parents

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 22nd October 2008.

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Photo of Anne Moffat Anne Moffat Labour, East Lothian

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assistance he plans to make available to lone parents who move from income support to jobseeker's allowance when their youngest child reaches the age of 12 years to provide the flexibility needed to combine family commitments with job seeking.

Photo of Kitty Ussher Kitty Ussher Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions

A holding reply was sent on 20 October 2008.

Lone parents claiming jobseeker's allowance will have a jobseeker's agreement, tailored to their individual circumstances, setting out what they will do to get work. This will include any restrictions agreed between them and their adviser on their availability and search for work. This could include restricting their availability to a minimum of 16 hours per week. There are also time-limited easements within the jobseeker's allowance regime which cover special circumstances and include periods where the lone parent or their child is ill or if there is a domestic emergency.

In addition, to safeguard the welfare of children, regulations will be amended to increase Jobcentre Plus adviser discretion so that a lone parent who is claiming jobseeker's allowance will not be penalised if they leave a job, or fail to take up a job, because appropriate, affordable child care is not available.

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