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Lone Parents: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 21907, tabled on 24 June 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to support single parent families in the context of the impact of the covid-19 outbreak on those families.

Answered on

1 July 2021

Since the start of the pandemic, the Government’s priority has been to protect lives and people’s livelihoods, through its economic response.

It has supported those on low incomes, including single parent families, in a number of ways, such as by increasing the living wage, and by spending an estimated £112 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2020/21. This included around £7.4 billion of Covid-related welfare policy measures.

For single parents on Universal Credit, there is help with childcare costs and a dedicated Work Coach. The Government considers that, where possible, it is in the best interests of children to be in working households, and we are committed to helping lone parents into a job which fits in around their caring responsibilities. Claimants with children will benefit from a work allowance and Universal Credit pays up to 85 per cent of childcare costs, compared to 70 per cent in legacy benefits which can be claimed up to a month before starting a job.

To further support those with children we introduced the Covid Winter Grant Scheme, now the Covid Local Support Grant, with over £420m provided to Local Authorities in England between 1 December 2020 and 30 September 2021 to help the most vulnerable children and families with the cost of food, utilities and other essentials.

As the economy recovers, our ambition is to help people move into and progress in work as quickly as possible, based on clear evidence around the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty. We are investing over £30 billion in our ambitious Plan for Jobs which is already delivering for people of all ages right across the country.