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Lone Parents

Volume 301: debated on Thursday 27 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many of the lone parents who received initial letters as part of the New Deal pilots were in receipt of income support three months later. [14736]

[holding answer 7 November 1997]: The New Deal for Lone Parents will fulfil the Government's commitment to help lone parents to get off benefit and into work. The programme is currently running in eight areas in England, Scotland and Wales. The New Deal for lone parents will be rolled out nationally from October next year.The programme was launched on 21 July. In the period to the 10 August, 2,672 lone parents had been invited to participate in the programme. Of these, at the 10 November, 2,421 were in receipt of income support.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if she will set out, in respect of the calculation that lone parents are on average –50 per week better off in work than on benefit, (a) the sample size, (b) the proportion of lone parents in the sample with zero child care costs, (c) the proportion with positive receipt of child maintenance, (d) their average ages and (e) their average travel-to-work costs. [18053]

The average £50 a week "better off figure refers to the additional income in work lone parents currently on Family Credit are likely to receive over and above the corresponding estimate of their out of work incomes.The figure is based on the 1994 PS1 survey of lone parents, updated to take into account recent benefit changes.The sample size was 375, of which 79 per cent. were not paying for child care. 37.5 per cent. received child maintenance and their average age was 35. The average travel-to-work costs were £4.93 per week.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security for how many of the 433 lone parents who were helped to obtain jobs by the New Deal pilot scheme she currently has information on the amount by which they were better off in work; and what was the average gain for these people. [18097]

Up to the end of October, 542 lone parents had been helped into work in the first eight areas of the New Deal for Lone Parents. Lone parents can ask for in-work "better off calculations obtained by New Deal Advisers from the Integrated Benefit Information System (IBIS). This system provides estimates of the likely entitlements to in-work benefits such as Family Credit, but we do not know the amount by which they are actually better off in work. The evaluation of the programme includes a quantitative survey of a sample of participants in all eight areas of the scheme which will collect systematic information from lone parents on how much better off they will actually be in work.Research has shown that most lone parents want to work and the New Deal will provide the opportunities to do so. The advantages of work for lone parents are in terms of not only financial gain but improving self-esteem for the parent and providing a more positive role model for the children.