Letters are going out today from local jobcentres to 100,000 single parents that are not in paid employment and whose youngest child is 4,5 or 6. They will be told that the conditions for receiving income support are changing and they will now need to attend word focused interviews and will have to claim job seeker’s allowance . This is because their income support will be ending next year as part of the government’s plans to remove income support eligibility for lone parents with a youngest child aged five and over.
Chief Executive of Gingerbread Fiona Weir said:
The proposed timing of this change is disastrous and will plunge thousands of single parents into a stagnant job market with little prospect of finding work that fits around their caring responsibilities. In previous years single parents have been given plenty of notice of these changes and time to prepare, but the government is rushing this legislation through and will catch single parents unawares. It makes much more sense to delay the change until 2013 when newly-announced childcare support will be available for part-time jobs, which will help single parents of young children balance work and parenting.”
New figures released this week by the Office of National Statistics show that unemployment has risen to 2.57 million , a 17 year high. Alarmingly, most of the recent job losses have been for part time roles . Jobs that fit around school hours are crucial for single parents, but they often struggle to find work that they can balance with looking after their child. The introduction of childcare support for those working under 16 hours from 2013 will make this much easier for single parents to manage.
So realistically what can you do?
Book an appointment with your local Loan Parent Advisor – they can talk through the new changes and discuss with you your best options.
Check out Turn2us website. They have a benefits calculator to check what else you may be entitled to. They also have a very good grants section so if your thinking of setting up your own business they maybe grants available to you.