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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2010): Social security - UK

In a lonely place? Social networks, job seeking and the experience of long term unemployment

C. Lindsay

Social Policy and Society, vol. 9, 2010, p. 25-37

Restricted access to social networks can impact on individuals' progress in the labour market. Restricted access to other forms of socially fulfilling interactions can impact on people's sense of isolation and ability to build networks and maintain relationships. This research sought to explore the extent to which long-term unemployed people are disadvantaged in terms of access to these forms of social capital. Data were gathered through interviews with 220 job seekers in Glasgow. The results show that many long-term unemployed people had restricted job search networks, so that personal contacts were rarely used in looking for work. The research also demonstrated that long-term unemployment led to social isolation as people withdrew from both informal socialising and community activities. The article concludes with a discussion of the potential role of social policy in helping the long-term unemployed to develop and broaden social networks.

Lone mothers, ethnicity and welfare dynamics

C. Mokhtar and L. Platt

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 39, 2010, p. 95-118

Lone parents in the UK face high risks of poverty and high rates of receipt of means-tested, out-of-work benefits. There has been extensive policy concern about potential welfare dependency among this group. Using data from administrative records, this article analyses the chances of leaving means-tested benefits for a set of lone mothers in a single town, exploring whether there is variation by ethnic group. Results show that, controlling for basic demographic characteristics, there is little evidence to suggest that ethnicity affects the chances of benefit exit, even between groups where rates of lone parenthood are very different.

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