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Single Parents

Volume 177: debated on Monday 23 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will commission a study on the disincentive effects of specific welfare benefits in relation to the encouragement of single mothers to return to work.

Social security benefits are structured so that, while not requiring lone parents with children up to the age of 16 to be available for work, they contain measures which help lone parents who wish to work. In income support lone parents have the first £15 of their earnings disregarded; this is higher than for most single people and couples. In family credit loan parents get the same adult credit as two-parent families and one-parent benefit is disregarded in calculating their income. In addition, in October the earnings disregard in housing benefit and community charge benefit for lone parents not on income support will be raised from £15 to £25 a week. We keep these arrangements under continuing review to ensure they work in the way intended, and commission independent research where appropriate.