To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
(1) whether the provision of additional flexibilities in the Social Security (Lone Parents and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2008 for those lone parents who face circumstances that need special consideration will include those who home educate out of necessity rather than choice;
(2) what provision has been made in the Social Security (Lone Parents and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2008 for those lone parents who home educate their children out of necessity rather than choice; what estimate he has made of the number of children who are home educated out of (a) necessity and (b) choice; and if he will make a statement.
The proposed Regulation changes will not apply to lone parents who: are in receipt of Carer's Allowance; have a child for whom they are receiving the middle or higher rate care component of Disability Living Allowance; foster children. These lone parents will be exempt and continue to be eligible for Income Support.
Lone parents in these circumstances who are also home educators are included in this group. Those lone parents who do not qualify for exemption and are capable of work will have to claim Jobseeker's Allowance, where they will be required to actively seek and be available for work of at least 16 hours a week.
However, it is recognised that lone parents who home educate may face unique and varied circumstances. Therefore we are ensuring that Jobcentre Plus Personal Advisers will have the appropriate training and guidance to deal with home educators when they make a claim for Jobseeker's Allowance. This will include making use of the proposed additional flexibilities to the Jobseeker's Allowance regime where the individual circumstances of home educators make this necessary. In addition home educators, like all other lone parents, will not be penalised if they have good cause for not taking up a job and the availability and suitability of childcare will be central to such a decision."