Unemployed Lone Parents Could Be Forced Into Unpaid Work Placements

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Unemployed lone parents could to be forced into mandatory unpaid work placements as part of fresh changes to benefits coming into force from the 28th April 2014.

Lone parents in receipt of Income Support who have a child between the age of 3-4 will be required to undertake ‘mandatory work related activity’ “to better prepare them for the full work-related requirements they will face when their child turns 5”.

The changes will also apply to lone parents in the ‘Work Related Activity Group’ (WRAG) of the sickness benefit Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

It does not apply to those in the ESA Support Group: which is for sick and disabled benefit claimants who the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) feel will not be able to begin looking for work in the foreseeable future.

Local authority childcare schemes will be made available to allow the changes to come into effect and help free up lone parents to partake in the new requirements. Up to fifteen hours of free childcare will be available for those affected.

Income Support claimants with a child between the age of 1-4 will also be required to take part in work focused interviews at their nearest Jobcentre. The time and duration ‘will be tailored to the needs of the lone parent’.

Failure to comply with the changes – without good cause – could result in lone parents having their benefits cut or stopped completely (sanctioned). The level of the cut will begin at 20% but could increase to 100% for ‘further failures’. However, only one Income Support cut will be permitted in a two-week period.

It has also been announced this week that jobseeker’s who have been out of work for over three years, and who have already taken part in the government’s controversial Work Programme, will be required to undertake ‘community work placements for up to 30 hours per week. They will also be expected to spend 10 hours per week looking for work.

The DWP has given the example of “clearing up litter and graffiti in local areas” which has previously been reserved for community volunteers and criminal offenders.

In this instance, failure to comply will result in jobseeker’s having their benefits cut for four weeks which could extend to several months for repeat offenders.

New Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimants will also have to wait 7 days before they become entitled for the unemployment benefit.


We have been informed that once a lone parent with a child over the age of 3 ‘volunteers’ for participation in the government’s ‘Work Programme’, that participation then becomes ‘mandatory’.

Tags : BenefitsChildrenDWPESAIncome SupportNewsPoliticsReformSocietyUK newsUnemploymentWelfare Reform
  • Jacki Page

    So who will care for their children whilst they undertake this work? Most of them are not at work BECAUSE there is no affordable childcare? What happened to these idiots’ brains?

  • samspruce

    Britain is becoming a savage country to live in.

  • david pearce

    a-ha wrag includes people that ‘may be fit for work at some time in the future’ nice to know the dwp will ignore its own advice for these people from now

  • Mark L

    The sooner these scumbags are voted out the better.

  • Carole Hunter

    Leave them at the front desk at DWP

  • If you read the full article it states in there that they will be providing 15hrs of free child care per week

    • Emma Hughes

      And where is the funding for these child care sessions coming from? If its not coming from DWP, then surely councils will be forced to finance them. Considering most of them are in dire straights and are cutting budgets, I don’t really see child care being provided. Once again the Tories don’t think about the consequences of their ridiculous policy ideas

    • Angry disabled person.

      The so called free child care will be administered by ATOS, yes they are the ones partly responsible for the deaths of disabled people. Would you want ATOS looking after your child?

  • jeffrey davies

    ITS ONLY the start if they get uc to work then those claiming any benefit it doesn’t matter whot child or tax credits then you are going to be pulled into your local jcp and asked whot are you doing to get off benefits jeff3

  • Wondering if this is scaremongering, seeing as there are so many variables here, ive heard no news reports on this no news from my local authority complaining about or providing places, that this is coming into a effect. 3 yr olds just startin g school who havent settled in have to deal with other childcare aswell? Im ringing my work advisor tomorrow to see what she has heard and if she tells me nothing like this will happen i seriously will be pissed at welfare news as i dont see how scaremongering is helpful. I will let you know what is said

    • News is sourced from a memo sent to local authorities. We would also be interested in finding out whether your adviser disputes the information. It could be that they haven’t seen it yet.

      • I’ve asked at my Jobcentre regarding the upcoming changes – no-one seems to know anything.

        Mind you, no-one there ever seems to know anything anyway, including their own rules and regulations, so no change i guess…

  • Stacy

    Alot of lone parents are lazy having a baby is not a disability this is a good idea for lazy mum’s

    • katie benning

      I can only assume that you know a lot of lone parents to be able to make such a comment, just the same as the people that assume that a lot of disabled people are faking it or a lot of JSA claims are made by scroungers, its attitudes like yours that have made this country shameful and has condemned hundreds of truly needy people homeless or even dead.

  • Emma Hughes

    Try being a single parent to a child and tell me it’s not a full time job on its own.
    Of the nearly 2 million lone parent households around 2/3rds of those work.
    Still going to tarnish all lone parents with the same brush?
    Have a think before you type next time eh?

  • what indeed

    years ago husbands went to work and the women worked partime for pin money and quite often youd have family network to help out. What went wrong was social breakdown being a single mum dosent work all round .if your single and have a child that is your choice why is it thought ok to live on benifits because your a single Mother surely you have to work first before having a child save your pennies etc

    • katie benning

      Really, so all single mothers choose to raise their children alone do they? What about the mothers that were married decided with their husbands to have children then he got board and went off to have a life leaving financial and child raising responsibilities to the left behind parent and this works both ways there are women who take off and leave their husbands with ALL the parenting, generalising a group is dangerous and it shows your ignorance, not all people reach their destination the same way i know single parents that look after their children which any good parent will tell you is a full time job also there are single parents who work to support their children and raise them with no help at all from the absent parent and constantly feel as if their child is missing something, but any one of the working,parents children gets in to trouble society is quick to jump on the parent so they can’t win no matter what they do not everyone has a choice so dont condem a single PARENT because in uncontrollable circumstances they did the right thing dont judge them if you never been there and if you have been there then remember how it felt

    • moondancer_by_night

      Please bear in mind single parents also include those who have been widdowed, or whose partners have deserted them. NO ONE chooses to be alone. What utter rubbish. Oh and there were single parents around when I was a kid, not everyone was married who had kids, some mothers were left alone after the war because their husbands didnt come home, there was no social security then but due to the rise of poverty that arose from the war, the need for mothers to have some support is obvious, but you and the tories would take it all away because it doesnt fit your happy victorian families view of life. Life isnt black and white and red all over, far from it, but making mothers, single or otherwise work in mandatory work placements is actually slavery dont you know. Income support/dole is NOT a living wage, and if you think this is ok, then perhaps you can give up your job and do the same.

  • single (usually) mums do the job of 2 people 24/7 – if you are giving 80% of your energy to working then your child/children only get 20% of whats left of your time and energy – i know – have been single (lone) parent for 19 years – hardest job i’ve ever done and not a situation i would of chose to be in !
    i dread to think of the issues the next generation are going to suffer from if these draconian policies are enforced!

  • jeffrey davies

    to get that 15hrs of childcare how many hours has one to work 35 then it will be a milestone around ones neck if so earning just around 200 childcare 100 ontop leaves you with 100 yes another ill idea it should be free at the start then those who want to work will those who rather bring up their children will but arguing the toss who should have children nah let those who do fully get it free otherwise you are just has bad has this government

  • 100% sure a court case bringing charges against all those involved in any coercive decision imposed on a lone parent based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child will ensue.

  • Angela

    First issue – it is a mother’s choice if she feels her child is ready to be left with childcarers. It is also the mothers decision who she chooses to leave her child with and whether she thinks the carer is suitable or meets her own parenting philosophy. What authority has the right to decide a 3 year old should be separated from it’s mother. Surely this becomes a ‘human rights’ issue.

    Second issue – regardless of who the childcarers are…it will cost! Who will be ulitimately paying for this? Council/ government funding ultimately comes from the people.

  • Linda Morton

    I did not choose to be a single parent. I am a single parent due to domestic abuse. Father absent now and not allowed contact. I am also registered disabled and have been since birth. I have managed to care for my daughter since she was 10 months and she is now 4.5yrs old! Please do not judge. Try walking in our shoes first, then if your opinion is the same, then comment.