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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2009): Social security - UK - New Deal

Employment and wage trajectories for mothers entering low-skilled work: evidence from the British lone parent cohort

K. Stewart

Social Policy and Administration, vol. 43, 2009, p. 483-507

UK government policy encourages mothers of young children in low-income families to enter or return to work, via tax credits and support for childcare. Maternal employment is seen as a key plank of the child poverty reduction strategy, both because it raises income immediately and because working now is seen as paving the way to better employment prospects in the future. This article uses the British Lone Parent Cohort, a dataset which tracked lone mothers from 1991 to 2001, to examine employment trajectories for up to 560 mothers. The analysis shows that a minority of women do enter work, remain employed and progress out of low pay. Some of the women tracked entered employment only to leave again, while many remained stably employed in low-paid jobs. Women who progress are more likely to be educated to post-secondary level, to be owner-occupiers and to attach greater importance to paid employment.

Parties set out employment policy

D. Gibbons

Working Brief, Sept. 2009, p. 12-13

Although employment policy has become the subject of heated debate due to the recession, its general direction is agreed by all three main UK political parties. All three support tailored and personalised support for the unemployed, although there are differences in the proposed use of sanctions and the extent to which the private and voluntary sectors would be involved in delivering services currently provided through JobCentre Plus.

Progressing the youth guarantee

D. Gibbons

Working Brief, Sept. 2009, p. 16

In the 2009 budget the government announced that all young people aged 18 to 24 would be offered a job, work-focused training or 'meaningful activity' once they had been unemployed for a year. This article reports on how the Department for Work and Pensions has been progressing two key aspects of the programme, the Future Jobs Fund and the Community Task Force.

Using devolution to make a difference

D. Gibbons

Working Brief, Sept. 2009, p. 9-11

This article examines two new Welsh government initiatives aimed at tackling unemployment. The Re-Act scheme is designed to help people that have been made redundant in the first six months of unemployment by providing funding for retraining and a financial incentive for employers to hire newly redundant people within this initial six month period. The Pro-Act scheme is designed to prevent redundancies by encouraging employers who are experiencing reductions in demand to use short-time working arrangements instead. While on reduced hours, workers receive assistance to access training.

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