Social Policy and Society, vol.11, 2012, p. 1-14
The 2008 welfare reforms introduced by the Labour government focused on activating lone parents based on the age of their youngest child as a key criterion. Activating lone parents whose youngest child was aged 12 or over was a key plank in their strategy for reducing child poverty via an increased lone parent employment rate. However, the group of lone parents on Income Support with older children was too small to make a significant contribution to the employment target. The level of multiple disadvantages among this group was also such that a substantial proportion was at high risk of not being able to find work. The Coalition government which came to power in 2010 announced that it would extend the activation of lone parents to include those whose youngest child was five or over in 2012. However just under half of lone parents in this group face multiple barriers to employment. Given that Britain in 2011 was just emerging from a recession, the author concludes that only a modest increase in the lone parent employment rate could be expected.