Single mothers 'stressed on return to work'

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Indy Politics

Single mothers who return to work face stress, depression and financial insecurity, a report commissioned by the Government has found.

The landmark study for the Department for Work and Pensions apparently undermines its own controversial plans to force single mothers to prepare for work when their children are very young.

Mothers would be told to look for work when their youngest child reaches the age of one under a White Paper unveiled this month by the Work and Pensions Secretary, James Purnell. The report, 'Work and Well-being Over Time: Lone Mothers and Their Children', is the third part of a major long-term study based on interviews with mothers who return to work.

It found that half of mothers felt financially insecure after coming off income support and starting a job. Children had to play a greater role in household chores and looking after younger siblings, while many mothers reported a lack of affordable and appropriate childcare.

More than half, or 19 of the 34 women taking part in the study, reported a significant period of illness, including stress and depression, since they were last interviewed in 2005.

Kate Bell, head of policy for One Parent Families, said: "Most single parents want to be in employment, but they are very concerned that it needs to be their choice because of the difficulties raised in this report."

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