'Mini-jobs' for lone parents?

Issue 128 (Autumn 2007)

Juggling work and childcare is the big conundrum of being a lone parent. But as the Government increasingly promotes work as the best way out of poverty, lone parents have little to choose from. Now however, new research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found that working in a so-called 'mini-job' for under 16 hours a week could be the way to bring lone parents gradually back into full-time employment while also allowing them to adjust their childcare needs. But are the advantages to lone parents real ones? What happens once benefit cuts are taken into account? Kate Bell considers the different options, as well as whether the strategy could contribute to achieving the Government's target of halving child poverty for 2010.