Many recently separated lone mothers were still adjusting to their new situation and felt that going to work could be more of a threat than an advantage. Out of work lone parents had a lack of confidence in their own skills and in their own skills and in their ability to compete in the labour market. This problem increased the longer they had been out of work.
Lone parents felt that few suitable jobs were available to them because they thought people wouldn't treat them equally as others. Some reported that employers discriminating against them. For instance not being able to do things like other employers at work because they felt that the single parent had been out of work and inexperienced.
The study was based on a national survey of 850 lone parents and in -depth follow-up interviews with 57 lone mothers. It compared the relative importance of the many barriers to work facing lone parents. Among the third of lone parents who become so recently, several needed time to get used to their new circumstances. Marie, a divorced mother of 3, said 'I think that's the worst of it. It does take a long time to get used to being on your own and being able to cope with children on your own'.
Lone parents were also deterred from work by their own lack of confidence, and what they saw as discrimination against them by employers. For example a parent called sally, a separated mother of two said;
"I hadn't got the confidence. I hadn't worked for 7 years and these were all new skills. I was going into a totally new environment. I'd never been in a office before, I didn't know what they were like".
Others said that they were turned down by employers wary of taking on staff without partners to share caring responsibilities.
A typical full-time nursery place for a two year old now costs over 110 a week- more than 700 a year. When the last survey was carried out in 1997, a typical nursery place cost 80 per week. The increase means that childcare accounts for a bigger share of the family income than housing or food. In London and the southeast the situation is worse, with the cost of a typical nursery place now 135 a week (over 7000 a year). In some areas, it's much worse. Findings made by the Day care trust out those parents on lower incomes can't afford the cost of typical nursery place, which now exceeds the childcare tax credit ceiling of 70.00 per week. Costs for a childminder, for many parents the more flexible and affordable option, are also out of range. To look after a two year old, childminders charge, on average, almost 90 a week-still over 4,500 a year.
Regional cost for childcare in England, 2001: Typical weekly costs for a two year old in full-time childcare places: "New deal" for lone parents can help you find a job or suitable training to bring your skills up to date. It's now available to all lone parents who are not working at the moment, or who are working, or who are working less than 16 hours per week. If anyone wanted to be part of the 'New deal' scheme a personal adviser will:
Help you through the first steps of applying for a suitable job for you. Calculate how much better off you could be in a job. Explain the effect that starting work may have on your benefits Explain which benefits you may be entitled to when you move into work. Access specialist employment advice if you have a disability Help you identify registered childcare
The aim of 'new deal' for lone parents scheme is because it's all about taking that important step towards a more secure future for you and your and children. NC* also believe, getting a job will help in many ways financially better off, learning new skills, building up your confidence, being able to meet new people and sharing experiences with each other. Lone parents who always have a job are nearly always financially better off. At NC, your personal Advisor can work and can give other advice on other benefits parent may be entitled to also. New Deal, has many advantages such as:
Build a more secure future-paid work can increase family income. Meet new people getting a job can be bringing good opportunities to meet great new people. Build your confidence. Another organisation is Gingerbread. Gingerbread aim to do 2 things such as, giving lone parents and, their children practical and emotional support. They also speak out for them in the media and politics.
A person who has had helped from Gingerbread said "It has offered a different kind of support than that offered by friends and family as most people in gingerbread have been through Gingerbread has always been a self-help organisation. So they know exactly what lone parents are going through. Their staffs talk to lone parents everywhere, everyday.