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Annie Hayes

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Fears heighten over ‘work unready’ lone parents

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Forcing lone parents into work could result in a surge of ‘work unready’ candidates.

The 2007 welfare reform green paper recommends that from 2008, lone parents with a child under 12 years, who are not in paid work, should be required to actively seek employment if it can be demonstrated that they will be financially better off.

According to a new research, many lone parents who are currently unemployed face multiple barriers to entering employment, including a lack of recent work experience, geographical location in areas of restricted employment opportunities and personal life disruption.

Anne Fairweather, head of public policy at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, said: “It’s vital that the government draws upon the potential that the private recruitment industry has to offer in effectively catering for the employment needs of lone parents. It’s not just about matching a set of skills to a job role.

“Private recruitment agencies are well placed to identify candidate training needs and work out what skills specialist groups need to become ‘work-ready’. Furthermore, private agencies currently place 1.3 million temporary workers on a weekly basis and for mothers who have been out of the labour market for a long period, temporary work can provide a vital route back into work and serve as a more effective way of restoring confidence.”

The research found that there are some general patterns in the characteristics of lone parents and their families. Lone parent families are at a greater risk of experiencing poverty and material hardship than coupled families and report higher levels of ill health, disabilities and household debt.

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Annie Hayes

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