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Half of single mothers 'do not want to work', says report
December 31, 2012 at 10:44 PM

Half of single mothers 'do not want to work', says report

Report: Government spending on persuading single mums into work is being wasted

UP to half of all single mothers do not want to work and simply will not take jobs, a report has found.

The analysis said Labour will never achieve its goal of persuading large numbers of lone parents to abandon a life on benefits because a huge proportion of them simply refuse to do so.

The study, produced by the Department for Work and Pensions, suggests much of the £3.4billion spent on attempts to encourage lone mothers to find jobs over the past ten years has been wasted.

It declared that Government campaigns 'struggle to make significant headway against the firm decision of some lone parents to choose not to work', and put this proportion at between 12 and 50 per cent.

Four out of ten lone mothers, the report added, say they do want to take jobs 'but only at some point in the future'.

New Labour's efforts to reduce poverty have centred on single parents since Tony Blair won the 1997 election.

As Chancellor, Gordon Brown devised the tax credits benefit system which currently pumps £16billion a year into the pockets of lower-paid working people and which is heavily biased towards helping single mothers.

Some £3.4billion has gone on the New Deal for Lone Parents, a welfare-to-work scheme meant to help single mothers into jobs.

However, recent figures showed that only around a fifth of those joining the New Deal find work that lasts more than a few weeks.

Mr Brown's target is to have 70 per cent of single parents in work.

However, this summer only 57.1 per cent were reported by Government surveys to be in employment.

The new analysis, carried out for the DWP by Andrew Thomas of Insite Research and Consulting, examined 'work focused interviews' which are a key part of the New Deal package.

Mothers must attend an interview if they wish to continue claiming the main benefit for the workless, income support.

The report said that although some mothers who are looking or willing to look for work derive some benefit from the interviews, most see going to one as a routine part of claiming benefits.

In spite of 'additional support premiums, incentives, transitional benefits, information on childcare and other elements that have been added piecemeal to the programme over the past five years,' the report found little progress had been made.

Interviews 'still appear to be unable to make significant headway against the firm decision of many to choose not to work'.

Ministers are understood to have discussed over the summer a system which would withdraw benefits from lone mothers who refuse to work.

The threat of withdrawing social security proved highly successful in the U.S. during the 1990s when used by President Bill Clinton.

But Mr Brown told the TUC conference earlier this month that the main change in Government policy would be to offer single parents even more incentives and extra benefits.

These will include £40 a week in taxpayer-subsidised pay - £60 a week in London - for the first year in work, £400 in training allowances, and a rule to allow single mothers to continue receiving state out-of-work benefits for their first six weeks in a job.

Critics of the system said that the DWP report was an admission that ten years of expensive Labour policies have failed.

Robert Whelan of the Civitas think tank said: "If people know they have the option of not working, they won't work. The only way is the Clinton way, in which you make it clear to people that they will lose their benefits if they don't work.

"In 1997 there was talk that the Government was going to do this as part of a wholesale reform of the welfare state. Instead what they have done is to produce the largest client group of the benefit-dependent in history."


  • littlelamb303
    December 31, 2012 at 11:24 PM
    This does not surprise me at all.
  • Euphoric
    December 31, 2012 at 11:58 PM


  • Carmel63
    January 1, 2013 at 12:34 AM

    Umm, this is in England.  Is it even relevant if the study took place in a different country?

  • glitterteaz
    January 1, 2013 at 12:36 AM

    hell half of everyone doesn't WANT to work!!!

  • motha2daDuchess
    January 1, 2013 at 12:36 AM
    ugh, no one WANTS to work. I have many many single mother friends that bust their ass and do not receive any form of assistance. crap like this post burns my last nerve
  • turtle68
    January 1, 2013 at 1:11 AM

     how long can a woman stay on single parent welfare?

    Here they are transfered onto the unemployment payment once the child reaches school age.  They can stay on the single parent payment if they have employment for at least 20 hours a they dont need daycare (it doesnt matter if they do) but the hours were created because they can then get a parttime job during school hours.   Daycare is subsidized for those working between 20 and 50 hours...and moderately subsidized for under those hours.

  • turtle68
    January 1, 2013 at 1:15 AM


    Quoting Carmel63:

    Umm, this is in England.  Is it even relevant if the study took place in a different country?

     the figures may not be the same....but single parents in countries where they can collect welfare for simply being a single mother...doesnt change around the world.  The mentality can be anywhere in the world...although it could change a lot if the payments are so minimal that they dont cover living costs.

    Either way its still a great discussion :-)

  • Tish_Hughes
    January 1, 2013 at 1:15 AM

     I'm a single mom and I don't want to work. I do, though cause shit don't get paid if I don't have an income.

  • gdiamante
    January 1, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    I do! Been there done that on being SAHM... hated it. My son asked daily when I was going back to work because he didn't like it either.

    I note this is a story out of the UK... wonder if any similar research has been done in the US?

    Quoting motha2daDuchess:

    ugh, no one WANTS to work. 
  • PortiaRose
    January 1, 2013 at 1:20 AM
    I stopped reading when I saw the pound sign.

    Quoting Carmel63:

    Umm, this is in England.  Is it even relevant if the study took place in a different country?

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