Labour MPs criticise Welfare Reform Bill, which will require parents on benefits to look for jobs when their youngest child turns three.
Single parents on benefits will be forced to look for work when their youngest child reaches the age of three, or face losing their state hand-outs, under new welfare laws.
At present, parents – including lone mothers and fathers – are entitled to receive benefits without conditions being attached until their children start school aged five.
However, welfare reforms to be debated in Parliament for the first time on Monday, will lower this age limit, meaning claimants whose youngest child is three or older will be required to look for work as a condition of continuing to receive the payments.
The move is expected to save £55 million from the welfare bill between 2017 and 2020 as parents lose their benefits or move into jobs.
The new rules will also mean that parents claiming benefits will have to “prepare for work” when their youngest child turns two, before actively seeking employment a year later.
Ministers have decided that the reform is fair because it will coincide with a major expansion in free childcare, designed to make it easier for parents to go to work.
From September 2017, all three and four year-olds in England will be entitled to up to 30 hours per week of free day-care.
Writer: Tim Ross
Date: 19 July 2015
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