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Home Policy and campaigns Media Gingerbread very concerned over Welfare Reform Bill
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Gingerbread very concerned over Welfare Reform Bill

17 February 2011

Commenting today on the Welfare Reform Bill, Chief Executive of single parent charity Gingerbread Fiona Weir said:

On Universal Credit and childcare costs:

"We are very concerned that the government is still not saying how Universal Credit will help parents with the costs of childcare. For many single parents looking for work childcare is the make-or-break issue. Until there is more information on how much support will be provided towards childcare costs, thousands of job-seeking single parents will find it impossible to assess whether Universal Credit will make work pay or not.  Parliamentarians should not be asked to vote on a bill with such a gaping hole at its centre". (1)

On provisions in the Bill to amend legislation as it relates to child maintenance:

"We believe it is premature to include measures in the bill which radically change the child maintenance system, when these measures are still under consultation. This makes a complete mockery of a so-called consultation process. The government must take this consultation process seriously rather than present the changes proposed as a fait accompli". (2)

Note to Editors:

- 1) Being able to find affordable, accessible childcare can be the deciding factor in whether going into (or remaining in) work is financially viable for single parents [EHRC (2010) Working Better – Childcare Matters: Improving choices and chances for parents and children].
- The support for childcare costs received through Working Tax Credits is vital (currently up to 80% – 70% from April 2011 – of childcare costs up to a maximum amount); 488,000 families currently receive support for their childcare costs through tax credits, 64% of whom are single parents [Daycare Trust (2010) The impact of the Spending Review on Childcare].

- (2) On 13 January the government launched a consultation to radically reshape the child maintenance system, Strengthening families, promoting parental responsibility: the future of child maintenance  This consultation runs until 7 April, and we would expect government to respect the spirit of an open consultation by not pre-judging its outcome.

Gingerbread press contact:         Jane Ahrends    020 7428 5416 / 0788 1951138

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