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Females: Disadvantaged

Volume 462: debated on Wednesday 11 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps are being taken to help women from disadvantaged backgrounds enter jobs that will lift them out of poverty. (146396)

We know that women living in families with no one in work are more likely to be living in poverty. All of our labour market policies are gender-neutral although some by their nature help more women than men. As a result of this Government's policies nearly 2 million more women are now employed than there were in 1997.

However we know there is still more to do. That is why we are piloting New Deal Plus for Lone Parents (NDPLP) in seven areas across the country, including Edmonton. As part of the package of help NDPLP provides, eligible people can claim an In-Work Credit of £40 (£60 in London) a week for up to a year when they move into work.

It is also why we have introduced the Deprived Areas Fund, and are introducing the City Strategy which provides tailored support in some of the most deprived areas of the country to all people in those communities with the greatest barriers to returning to work.

And with a lack of affordable child care being the greatest barrier to getting work for many women we are determined to continue to build on our policies, which, since 1997, have already resulted in a doubling of the number of child care places in England and, with extra help through the tax credit system, have significantly improved affordability. In addition, the London Childcare Affordability Project, which is jointly funded with the Greater London Authority, is testing the effectiveness of providing additional subsidies in the capital, where costs tend to be higher.