Sarah Johnsen introduces a briefing paper exploring the issues
Concerns about high unemployment rates and levels of poverty amongst single parent households have prompted a number of OECD countries to target lone parents for ‘activation’ reforms. These reforms aim to increase their participation in the paid workforce. In some respects the UK has been slower to apply work-related conditions to this group than other OECD countries, but their entitlements are now increasingly tied to their participation in the labour market.
The most significant change has been the introduction of Lone Parent Obligations (LPOs). These were introduced in 2008, at which point lone parents with a youngest child aged 12 or older were transferred from Income Support to Jobseekers Allowance (JSA). The age threshold has since reduced, such that all lone parents with a youngest child aged five or older are required to seek paid employment.