asked Her Majesty's Government:
With reference to the statement in the Labour Party manifesto that "one million single mothers are trapped on benefit", how they distinguish between those who are trapped on benefit and those who are not trapped; and how many single mothers on benefit are (a) trapped and (b) not trapped according to the latest available figures.80WA
§ Baroness Hollis of Heigham
This Government's approach is to help lone mothers improve their family income by helping them into work. This is a high priority for the Government and we will give lone mothers opportunities to move into work as part of our welfare to work programme.
In May 1996, there were 1.1 million lone mothers in receipt of income support, and 300,000 in receipt of family credit. Roughly three-quarters of all lone parents on income support at the beginning of a year are still there 12 months later—a proportion which has stayed roughly constant for several years. Research also suggests that a high proportion—over 70 per cent. —of lone mothers on income support feel trapped (DSS Research Report Moving off Income Support: Barriers and Bridges).
Lone mothers on income support are also restricted in their income mobility and their economic mobility. Research shows that lone-mother families are less likely to make a transition out of low income than the population as a whole. Of those in the bottom 30 per cent. of the income distribution in 1991, eight out of 10 of those in lone-mother families were still there in 1994, compared with two-thirds of the population as a whole (British Household Panel Survey).