This is a story I found on the BBC News Website today, and it highlights the difficulties that many people across the UK could be facing if or when the new welfare plan comes into place. This is what the BBC Article said,
Ministers may now have to rethink or delay plans to force lone parents, disabled people and the long-term jobless to seek work, a senior government adviser has said.
Sir Richard Tilt said reforms in Wales, England and Scotland could "push people into poverty" as unemployment rises.
From next week, lone parents will have to look for work once their youngest child is 12 or face losing benefits.
Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell said plans should offer support to the jobless, not penalise them.
Sir Richard, who is head of the social security advisory committee, said the so-called "welfare to work" reforms risked "falling into disrepute". He called for the changes to be delayed by one or two years.
Currently, single parents can claim income support solely on the basis of being a lone parent until their youngest child is 16.
But from Monday, those with children aged 12 and over will no longer be able to make a new claim for income support. Instead, they will be able to claim Jobseekers Allowance if they are actively looking for work. The total amount they can receive will be almost exactly the same, but anyone not complying with the new rules could face sanctions, including having their benefits cut by up to 40%. Sir Richard said: "Benefit rates are relatively low and if you are going to reduce someone's benefit for a few weeks by 40% you are pushing people much closer to poverty. "Of course, the child will suffer, but it's not the child that has fallen foul of the system."
These plans deliberately target the vulnerable, as they have no power and no real voice.
Sir Richard said he was concerned about the availability of suitable, affordable childcare for lone parents affected by the changes, he said there was often a particular reason that the lone parent was staying at home.
"It may be to do with disability or chronic illness, or in some cases it may be to do with behavioural problems," he said. "So pushing the lone parent in those circumstances into work may actually not be in everybody's interest.
"In many cases it will be harmful and lead to further behavioural problems."
Mr Purnell said it was more vital than ever to help the jobless seek employment.
"What we are saying is people should take up the support which we know works.
"I think it would be wrong at a time when it may be harder for people to find work to provide them with less help."
Dawn Harrison, from Sidcup, south-east London, told BBC Breakfast she had to give up her job when childcare for her daughters aged 12 and 13 became too expensive.
"What it was they wanted, £1,000 up front over the summer holidays and I haven't got that sort of money," she said.
"I couldn't see the point of struggling with money, going to work and looking after them at the same time."
For lone parents already claiming income support, the changes will be phased in depending on the age of the youngest child.
From March 2009, parents of 14 and 15-year-olds will no longer be able to claim income support and from July 2009, the change will extend to parents of 12 and 13-year-olds.
By October 2010, lone parents with children aged seven and over will be required to look for work in order to get benefits.
According to the government, there are 1.8m lone parents in the UK, 56.3% of whom are in work.
There are 738,600 lone parents on income support, and of those, just over 100,000 have children aged 12 and above.
If we look at Stoke on Trent alone, I only commented the other day, how many young mothers there actually are. Some, no older than 16-17. Many of these young ladies, are trying to fit looking after a baby, carry on studying, or doing full time/part time work, so I do think these young mum's sometimes get a fair amount of unnecessary criticism. They deserve all the help and support they can get. Sadly, we have those that see having a baby as a quick way of getting a council house, this does happen, I have heard the conversation many times. This is a sad state of affairs, so, this may be one good example of where the new plans could discourage these young girls.
We have many parents, who are left single, through marriage breakups, or loss of a partner, who work hard to hold down a job, and fit in looking after the kids and home. Are they getting extra money to help with finances, if not, they should be?
If we hear what Dawn Harrison says, she had to give up work, because child care became too expensive. This is a problem many families and single parents face, paying out large amounts of money on child care, very often amounting to nearly all of the wages they earn.
We are trying to get people off the jobless list, but, how many people are currently having their working hours cut, or face the possibility of redundancy. The situation will probably get worse, before it gets better. It is any easy statement to make, to cut people's benefits, but we have the genuine people who are looking for work, day in, day out, but simply cannot find employment. Should we penalise these people, by cutting down on benefits, I think not.
What do you think?