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Thursday, 16 April, 1998, 02:57 GMT 03:57 UK
Working parents are 'in control' says survey
mother and children
Report says lone parents with jobs feel more in control
Work can help single mothers establish an independent lifestyle and improve their financial circumstances, according to research produced by the Department of Social Security.

The findings came as the Government pursues its New Deal for lone parents, encouraging them off benefit and into work.

The policy triggered a major revolt by Labour MPs in December, and has been vigorously criticised by some single mothers, who would prefer to stay at home to raise their children.

protest
Welfare reforms triggered national protest
But the new survey found that single parents who reported feeling more in control of their lives tended to be those whose financial circumstances had improved.

It was based on a random sample of 625 lone parents interviewed in 1991 and again in 1995.

The survey indicated that those parents who remained jobless - 46% of the households surveyed - continued to experience difficulty in budgeting and sometimes suffered material hardship.

Poor health in a family was closely associated with relative material hardship and acted as a further barrier to parents finding and keeping paid work.

The report was based on research conducted by the left-of-centre Policy Studies Institute on behalf of the Government.

Keith Bradley, the Social Security Minister, seized on the survey saying: "This report shows that the way for lone parents to improve their lives is through getting work and that we have to ensure that a range of support is given to make that possible.

"The New Deal for lone parents reflects the aims and aspirations of lone parent families who clearly recognise that work provides the best route out of poverty and dependence."

Mr Bradley said the Personal Advisers' Service was providing the support needed by lone parents, while the National Childcare Strategy and the new Working Families Tax Credit would help remove some of the main barriers to work.

See also:

10 Dec 97 | UK politics
Briefing - Lone parent benefits
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