Tackling child poverty when parents cannot work

Martin Evans, Lewis Williams

An overview and analysis of current policy approaches that support incomes of parents who are unable to work, focusing on maternity, short-term sickness and unemployment and on issues surrounding disability and caring.

The report describes the current strengths and weaknesses in policy provision to combat child poverty when parental employment is constrained and is a timely analysis given the approaching 2010 deadline for halving child poverty from 1999 levels. The analysis uses original and unique tax-benefit modelling of current provision across a range of low-paid and out-of-work family profiles.

The main contents of the report are:

  • An introductory overview of the policy trade-offs involved in determining ability and inability to work;
  • Analysis of current provisions for maternity and how far it protects families against child poverty;
  • Analysis of the current provisions for short-term sickness and periods 'between jobs' that are relevant to most low-paid parents, particularly those with constrained employment from ill health/ disability;
  • Analysis of current provisions for those parents with limitations of their capacity to work, on those with disabilities and parents who care for disabled partners/ children.

The report concludes with a series of policy recommendations and options.

This report is one of seven reports linked to the Roundup 'What will it take to end child poverty in 2020?'



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