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Children: Poverty

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the impact on child poverty of the requirement placed on lone parents to meet child care and travel costs in full under the jobseeker’s allowance regime to be introduced for lone parents whose youngest child is 12 years of age. (187028)

There has been no specific assessment of the requirement placed on lone parents to meet child care and travel costs in full under the jobseeker’s allowance regime. A full impact assessment of the changes, including impacts on child poverty, announced in Ready for Work was published in “Ready for work: full employment in our generation—impact assessment” in December 2007 which is in the Library.

However, lone parents who have genuine reasons, or good cause, for not complying with their obligations to look for, or take up, work will not be penalised. Good cause could include a variety of reasons depending on the circumstances of the individual. For example, problems with child care, illness of themselves or their children or their child care support, transport difficulties, unforeseen family circumstances, domestic violence or relationship breakdown could all be considered as a good cause. However, this will not be a general ‘opt-out’ for those who would prefer to be on benefits.