Politics: Single parents get good deal

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The Independent Online
SINGLE parents who have taken up Labour's New Deal have more money in their pocket and are costing less to the state, according to the first figures released from the evaluation programme.

The programme has looked at the first eight months of the scheme, and interim results suggest that between 1.5 per cent and 7 per cent fewer single parents are claiming income support in New Deal areas compared to areas where it had not been introduced.

The New Deal was launched last July to enable 500,000 parents to get back to work. Personal advisers are at the centre of the scheme, which will ensure that all lone parents will be invited to JobCentres for advice on getting work once their children reach school age.

The Department for Social Security set up an independent evaluation to see if the pounds 190m scheme was working. Full results are expected in October 1999.

An internal study by the DSS suggests that lone parents who had taken part in the New Deal were pounds 39 better off per week, and that they were also costing the state pounds 42 less a week in benefits.