SINGLE parents in Ellesmere Port and Neston will be given extra support to help them prepare for work under new benefit rules.
Those with children aged 12 or over will no longer be able to make a new or repeat claim for Income Support solely on the basis of being a lone parent.
Instead they will be able to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance or, if they are not well enough to work, Employment and Support Allowance.
There are currently 910 single parents claiming Income Support in the borough, with 150 of these having a youngest child aged 11-16.
Parliamentary Under Secretary Kitty Ussher said: “These changes will help lone parents who can work get closer to the labour market, opening up a range of opportunities to get training and skills.
“Specialist lone parent employment advisers will help lone parents prepare for work by building their skills and confidence, as well as offering practical help with CV training and finding appropriate childcare.
“This will give lone parents real choice about their future. At a time when we face global economic challenges, it’s essential that we give people more not less opportunity to find work and support themselves and their families.”
The changes will help the Government reach its target to eradicate child poverty by 2020.
A child of a lone parent is three times less likely to be in poverty if they work part-time and this increases to five times less likely if the parent works full time.
The Government expects around 750 lone parents a month to make a new or repeat claim for benefit between now and March 2009.