The Government is demanding 100,000 single parents seek work in 2011 when their youngest child reaches five years old. Parents must look for jobs where they will be working 16 hours or more. They will be allowed to limit their searches to school hours. However according to gingerbread a registered charity for the support of lone parents in Britain believes that there is a lack of these jobs available.

From October this year 120,000 single parents whose youngest is aged seven will be required to seek work. Gingerbread’s national survey of single parent members and users of NetMums website found a high number of single parents who had seen no or few jobs they could apply for advertised at part time hours (62%); within school hours (97%); as a job share (95%); or flexible in some other way (97%).

Launching a Gingerbread Briefing on flexible working today, chief executive of the charity Fiona Weir called for Government to move faster on plans for flexible working:

She said: “The business case for flexible working is proven with 92% of employers agreeing that people work best when they can balance work and other aspects of their lives. Recent policy changes have focused on pressuring single parents to seek work or risk benefit cuts. But that isn’t what is needed. Nationally nearly 60 per cent of single parents are already in work and most of those on benefits say they want a job. A workplace that works better for single parents is the missing part of the jigsaw. Without action from Government and employers many single parents will remain trapped in poverty.”

The Coalition Government has committed to introduce flexible working for all and launched a taskforce on children and families.