HC Deb 10 December 1997 vol 302 cc600-1W
Mr. Cousins

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if she will estimate the numbers of lone parents who are(a) working and (b) not working in each region and nation of Britain. [18084]

Mr. Keith Bradley

The information is set out in the table.

Number of lone parents
Region Working Not working
North 35,000 55,000
Yorkshire and Humberside 60,000 70,000
North West 80,000 150,000
East Midlands 40,000 65,000
West Midlands 55,000 100,000
East Anglia 25,000 30,000
Greater London 85,000 190,000
South East (excluding London) 90,000 125,000
South West 55,000 75,000
Wales 35,000 55,000
Scotland 60,000 110,000
Total 620,000 1,025,000


  1. 1. All figures are rounded to the nearest 5,000.
  2. 2. Working is defined as all those who are (i) employees (ii) self-employed (iii) employees temporarily not at work or (iv) those in work related government training. Not working is defined as those who are (i) unemployed or (ii) inactive. These are based on the International Labour Organisation categorisations.
  3. 3.The figures should be treated as broad estimates since they are drawn from Family Resource Survey data which is subject to sampling error and to possible variations in response rates between regions and between working and non-working lone parents. Figures for the regions with smaller lone parent populations should be treated with particular caution.


1995–96 Family Resources Survey which covers Great Britain.

Mr. Webb

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the average age of lone parents on income support. [18875]

Mr. Keith Bradley

As at February 1997, the average age of lone parents on Income Support was 32 years.


  1. 1. Sample size 5 per cent.
  2. 2. Lone parents are defined as those claimants receiving the lone parent premium.


Income Support Quarterly Statistical Enquiry, February 1997.

Ms Julie Morgan

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what information services are used in the New Deal for Lone Parent pilot areas; and who provides them; [16462]

(2) what resources she will make available for local partnerships as a result of the New Deal for Lone Parents pilots. [16442]

Mr. Keith Bradley

New Deal for Lone Parents will fulfil the Government's commitment to provide practical help and advice for lone parents on Income Support whose youngest child is at school and who want to work. The programme is already available in eight areas and will be rolled out nationally from October next year, at a cost of £150 million over the course of this Parliament, raised from the Windfall Levy.

Results from the first eight areas are encouraging. Many lone parents with pre-school children are asking if they can participate in the New Deal. An additional £25 million has therefore been made available from October next year to offer the service to lone parents with a child under five who want to work. In addition, the New Deal for Lone Parents will be available to all lone parents who make a new claim for Income Support from April 1998.

New Deal Advisers are able to provide a range of information to participating lone parents. A key feature of the New Deal service is the provision of advice on how in-work benefits can help lone parents to be better off in-work. Advisers obtain estimates of likely entitlements to in-work benefits such as Family Credit from the Integrated Benefit Information System (IBIS) developed by the Benefits Agency.

Information on job vacancies is available via the Employment Service Labour Market System (LMS). Advisers based in Employment Service Jobcentres can access this information direct, whilst those based in Benefits Agency offices can receive information on LMS vacancies from the Vacancy Manager at their local Jobcentre. This information helps Advisers to match job vacancies to the needs of lone parents.

The lone parents who move into work as a result of the New Deal may need help to find suitable childcare. Advisers in all of the first eight areas of the New Deal for Lone Parents have access to a database of local childcare facilities which has been prepared by a consultancy following a competitive tender. In some areas, Advisers are making use of other childcare information services where these offer a better service. Advisers in Cardiff are using the Chwarae Teg database of childcare facilities in Wales, whilst those in Cambridgeshire have direct access, via the internet, to the Opportunity Links system.

Although there are no formal local partnerships in place in the eight first phase areas, New Deal Advisers have been encouraged to form close links with local employers, Training and Enterprise Councils, Local Authorities and voluntary organisations. As part of the process of planning for national implementation of the New Deal for Lone Parents, the Government is consulting with employers, Local Authorities, the TEC National Council and voluntary sector organisations. Any partnerships resulting from these negotiations will be financed from the funds already allocated to deliver the New Deal over the course of this Parliament.

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