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Diminishing returns: lone mothers' financial work and incomes incentives under the Coalition

Diminishing returns: lone mothers' financial work and incomes incentives under the Coalition
Diminishing returns: lone mothers' financial work and incomes incentives under the Coalition
Lone mothers in the UK are a key target group of tax-benefit measures designed to ‘make work pay’. This article assesses how the Conservative–Liberal Democrat Coalition’s ‘make work pay’ agenda since 2010 has potentially affected single mothers. It calculates two lone mothers’ incomes and incentives for a range of working hours and wage rates under the Coalition and previous New Labour government. While the Coalition’s measures substantially improve the lone mothers’ incentives to work in mini-jobs of fewer than sixteen hours, their incentives to work longer are still weak, if not weaker than under Labour. Furthermore, the financial returns to progressing in work begin to diminish once hours exceed just six at average wage and nine at minimum wage. While tougher conditionality may still push many lone parents to work longer, weak labour demand and reduced employment supports could undermine their abilities to meet increased work expectations.
Make work pay, mini-jobs, New Labour, UK, Universal Credit
1474-7464
569-591
Kowalewska, Helen
2b6dca95-8312-4eee-b13b-850eca1b9a32
Kowalewska, Helen
2b6dca95-8312-4eee-b13b-850eca1b9a32

Kowalewska, Helen (2015) Diminishing returns: lone mothers' financial work and incomes incentives under the Coalition. Social Policy and Society, 14 (4), 569-591. (doi:10.1017/S1474746415000330).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Lone mothers in the UK are a key target group of tax-benefit measures designed to ‘make work pay’. This article assesses how the Conservative–Liberal Democrat Coalition’s ‘make work pay’ agenda since 2010 has potentially affected single mothers. It calculates two lone mothers’ incomes and incentives for a range of working hours and wage rates under the Coalition and previous New Labour government. While the Coalition’s measures substantially improve the lone mothers’ incentives to work in mini-jobs of fewer than sixteen hours, their incentives to work longer are still weak, if not weaker than under Labour. Furthermore, the financial returns to progressing in work begin to diminish once hours exceed just six at average wage and nine at minimum wage. While tougher conditionality may still push many lone parents to work longer, weak labour demand and reduced employment supports could undermine their abilities to meet increased work expectations.

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Accepted/In Press date: 20 April 2015
Published date: 2015
Keywords: Make work pay, mini-jobs, New Labour, UK, Universal Credit
Organisations: Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 377190
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/377190
ISSN: 1474-7464
PURE UUID: 306fc6d0-f929-4d23-8cc3-82a7824545cf
ORCID for Helen Kowalewska: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7991-5371

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Date deposited: 02 Jun 2015 12:45
Last modified: 05 Apr 2019 00:20

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