Welfare Reform Review Risks Excluding Lone Parents With Disabled Children

Whilst welcoming the overall direction of David Freud’s report, the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) warned that Government plans to increase the numbers of lone parents moving into paid employment still risked leaving out the quarter that have a disabled child.

A lack of high quality, affordable and accessible child care and out of school opportunities for disabled children is still proving a major barrier for many families wanting to escape poverty by moving into work.  Widening conditions for receipt of benefits to parents with younger children runs the risk of penalising lone parents for matters ‘beyond their control’, the Commission said.

Sir Bert Massie, DRC Chairman said: “The general flow of traffic in these proposals is on the right track: to reach the most disadvantaged and build incentives for private and voluntary agencies to support them into work. But before extending conditions for lone parents receiving benefit we have to be confident that all support is and will be provided to make work a palpable reality for them.

“Without this, lone parents with disabled children will face the Hobson’s Choice of facing benefit penalties for circumstances beyond their control or continuing to occupy the lonely planet of exclusion, poverty and distance from work because of continuing failures to ensure a sound platform for their participation.”