§ Mr. Meacher
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether short-term foster parents are exempt from the(a) availability for work and (b) actively seeking work requirements for income support and unemployment benefit; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Gillian Shephard
For income support purposes, foster parents and natural parents are treated similarly. To receive income support, single parents fostering children do not have to be either available for, or actively seeking, work. Where there are two parents, one of them has to be both available for and actively seeking work, unless exempted from the requirements for some other reason. To receive unemployment benefit, all claimants normally have to be both available for, and actively seeking, work.