Desperately seeking security: UK family policy, lone mothers and paid work

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This article draws on longitudinal qualitative research to examine the labour market experiences of lone mothers over a period of four to five years. These lone mothers are very much the “hard-working families” that the British welfare state is being reformed and reshaped to support. The work-as-welfare agenda—making people better off, promoting choice and independence—offers the promise of a better quality of life through engagement in the working world. These women made the commitment to work with exactly those goals in mind—to create better lives for themselves and their families. But, even after four to five years, many were still struggling to achieve an adequate and secure standard of living in work. They found that there were limited opportunities to increase income and that the wages/tax credits package did not always provide financial security. The level of financial support for British working families is falling, with substantial cuts in benefits, tax credits, services and public sector jobs. The nature of that financial support is also likely to change radically. But if benefits for working families are lower, then it is all the more important that the support available is reliable, stable and secure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-36
Number of pages10
JournalFamily Matters
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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