Working single parents who receive a pay rise should also get a cash bonus from the state, a Conservative think-tank recommends today.
In a report, it also calls on ministers to boost funding for Jobcentres by more than £250m to provide extra help for single parents to find a job.
Policy Exchange says more than one in three of Britain’s 1.8m single parent households – about 650,000 – are not in any kind of work and urges immediate action to cut the proportion.
It says they should receive intensive Jobcentre training when their child reaches three and be allowed to keep some of the in-work benefit they would lose if they find employment.
Parents who advance at work should then be paid a bonus out of their benefit reduction after they receive a substantial pay rise. Policy Exchange suggests it could be £65 if their salary goes up by £1,000.
The think-tank argues that extra support targeted at unemployed single parents will eventually pay for itself by cutting the benefits bill.
The report’s author, Matthew Tinsley, said: “All parents, especially young single mothers, need support. It is right the Government extended free childcare.
“However, it is also right to ask more from people to find a job. Simply relying on benefits when you are physically and mentally able to work is not fair. Policymakers must do more to help the two-thirds of a million unemployed single parents find a job.”