MSE News: Minister answers concerns on lone parent benefits

edited 27 December 2010 at 4:51AM in Benefits & Tax Credits
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  • Indie_KidIndie_Kid Forumite
    23.1K Posts
    Absolutely.

    Childcare cost as much as it does now as a proportion of wages. And it was not so readily available. And the Government didn't pay for any of it.

    You received extra tax allowances for having children. That is now TCs.
    but lone parents do often think that their problems are different from couples'.

    Because they are different? I have a friend, who for a while, was a lone parent for some of 2010. He pretty much said it was much more difficult for him - he had to do everything for his on. Whereas, when his wife was around, she shared some of their son's care too.
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  • nottslass_2nottslass_2 Forumite
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    ceridwen wrote: »
    <sigh> been down this road many times before <sigh>

    It's called effective contraceptive precautions - ie the Pill, sterilisation, abortion if need be.

    If someone already has a child/children and wants to have some more whilst still on benefits - on their head be it - as they wouldnt get given any extra money by the State (ie us) for any subsequent children. So the woman would have to "spread" the same income over more mouths to feed/bodies to clothe/etc. A lot of women would then "miraculously" decide by themselves then not to have any more children after all...

    Would just like to point out that for every woman who has a child whilst on Benefits there is indeed a man who is jointly responsible for the well being of his child !!!!

    Unfortunately, although I personally know people who have decided to have more children whilst on Benefits (4 in this case !) I fail to see how not paying for subsequent children will have any effect other than to plunge many innocent children into a life without adequate food,clothing and shelter - As was the case before the welfare state and benefits !
  • OldernotwiserOldernotwiser
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    nottslass wrote: »
    Unfortunately, although I personally know people who have decided to have more children whilst on Benefits (4 in this case !) I fail to see how not paying for subsequent children will have any effect other than to plunge many innocent children into a life without adequate food,clothing and shelter - As was the case before the welfare state and benefits !

    Presumably most people on benefits would think twice about having more children if they knew that they wouldn't receive any more money if they did?
  • OldernotwiserOldernotwiser
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    sh1305 wrote: »
    You received extra tax allowances for having children. That is now TCs.

    Tax allowances for children were a pittance compared to tax credits and you only got them if you actually earned an income. Parents on benefits only got CB (Family Allowance).


    Because they are different? I have a friend, who for a while, was a lone parent for some of 2010. He pretty much said it was much more difficult for him - he had to do everything for his on. Whereas, when his wife was around, she shared some of their son's care too.

    Lone parents often think that they are the only people finding childcare difficult and/or juggling home and work. The problems are often very similar.
  • SixerSixer Forumite
    1.1K Posts
    nottslass wrote: »
    Would just like to point out that for every woman who has a child whilst on Benefits there is indeed a man who is jointly responsible for the well being of his child !!!!

    Unfortunately, although I personally know people who have decided to have more children whilst on Benefits (4 in this case !) I fail to see how not paying for subsequent children will have any effect other than to plunge many innocent children into a life without adequate food,clothing and shelter - As was the case before the welfare state and benefits !

    Precisely! My parents both grew up in slums/condemned houses in abject poverty. I think we tend to forget that, in those good old days, children suffered from malnutrition, rickets and all sorts of other poverty-related conditions. People still starved in the UK in the 1930s.

    However, I would also say that social mores - the acceptability of divorce, for example - have brought some social gains in that people aren't condemned to miserably unhappy lives, unable to change them because of social convention, but have spawned changes that it's proving difficult to arrange for financially.

    Ultimately though, I would see the universal provision of good childcare and social housing as beneficial to everyone - including the taxpayer, much as many taxpayers feel it's unfair. It's all about the big picture.
  • ceridwenceridwen
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    Yes, I agree with that.

    These are indirect measures to discourage people on Benefits from having more children. What I meant when I said you couldn't legislate against people having children is that you could not pass a law saying 'thou shalt have no more children whilst on Benefits'.

    Indirect measures like this, yes I approve of.

    Where the law COULD be used in situations like this is to say to single parents on benefits "We've just told you - no extra benefits for any more children you have whilst still on benefits (unless they turn up not more than 8 months after you went onto benefits) AND any children that you DO have 9 months or more AFTER going onto benefits will have a disregard imposed". This disregard would mean that if anyone on benefits had a child 9 months or more after going onto benefits then the date at which the parent would be expected to go back to work by the State would be when the youngest of any children they had ALREADY was 7. They wouldnt be allowed to take 7 years off from looking for work for any children born subsequent to going onto benefits. They would be treated exactly the same as a working parent in receipt of maternity benefit - ie they would be expected to go back to work (jobseeking in their case) as soon as the "maternity benefits period" was up and not get allowed any extra time off because of being on benefits.

    The combination of no extra money for any children born whilst on benefits and no extra time allowed off from jobseeking would be sufficient to deter a lot from getting pregnant again (until such time as they were "bearing their own burdens" - ie had got themselves a job).
  • Indie_KidIndie_Kid Forumite
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    Why should the children suffer?
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  • edited 2 January 2011 at 12:17PM
    ceridwenceridwen
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    edited 2 January 2011 at 12:17PM
    nottslass wrote: »
    Would just like to point out that for every woman who has a child whilst on Benefits there is indeed a man who is jointly responsible for the well being of his child !!!!

    Unfortunately, although I personally know people who have decided to have more children whilst on Benefits (4 in this case !) I fail to see how not paying for subsequent children will have any effect other than to plunge many innocent children into a life without adequate food,clothing and shelter - As was the case before the welfare state and benefits !

    If that happened to children - it would be the parents' fault. They would have been the ones to choose to have children deliberately whilst on benefits - therefore the child could "point the finger at" their own parent and say "YOUR fault - YOU were the one who had me/the youngest/whatever whilst on benefits."

    The reason many children didnt have adequate food etc prior to the Welfare State is because there wasnt effective contraception/legal abortion then (nothing to do with whether we have any sort of Welfare State or no). No-one now has a child they cant afford themselves - unless they have made a deliberate decision to do so. Prior to effective contraception/legal abortion people had no option as to whether to have children or no and many then DID have children they couldnt afford themselves (because for most of history to date children just "happened" regardless). WE have had control of our own destiny in that respect for about the last 40 years.

    If the rest of us keep having money taken out of OUR pockets to pay for children born to those already on benefits - then that means WE OURSELVES maybe not having enough (due to no fault/choice of our own) - but just because OUR money had been taken off us one way or another and given to someone else.
  • SixerSixer Forumite
    1.1K Posts
    ceridwen wrote: »
    Where the law COULD be used in situations like this is to say to single parents on benefits "We've just told you - no extra benefits for any more children you have whilst still on benefits (unless they turn up not more than 8 months after you went onto benefits) AND any children that you DO have 9 months or more AFTER going onto benefits will have a disregard imposed". This disregard would mean that if anyone on benefits had a child 9 months or more after going onto benefits then the date at which the parent would be expected to go back to work by the State would be when the youngest of any children they had ALREADY was 7. They wouldnt be allowed to take 7 years off from looking for work for any children born subsequent to going onto benefits. They would be treated exactly the same as a working parent in receipt of maternity benefit - ie they would be expected to go back to work (jobseeking in their case) as soon as the "maternity benefits period" was up and not get allowed any extra time off because of being on benefits.

    The combination of no extra money for any children born whilst on benefits and no extra time allowed off from jobseeking would be sufficient to deter a lot from getting pregnant again (until such time as they were "bearing their own burdens" - ie had got themselves a job).

    But what about the children that ARE born? What happens when they get malnutrition and have to be taken into - very expensive - care? What happens then?

    Measures such as you propose are Catch 22s. They penalise - innocent - children, and when those children are penalised, action has to be taken. That action costs more money than the saving you made with your measures.
  • ceridwenceridwen
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    Sixer wrote: »
    But what about the children that ARE born? What happens when they get malnutrition and have to be taken into - very expensive - care? What happens then?

    Measures such as you propose are Catch 22s. They penalise - innocent - children, and when those children are penalised, action has to be taken. That action costs more money than the saving you made with your measures.


    I doubt things would get that drastic - the phrase "over-egging the cake" comes to mind here for that statement.

    What about the phrase "Personal Responsibility"? Time for people (and that includes would-be parents) to take personal responsibility and take account of their circumstances before deciding whether to conceive a child/another child - rather than going ahead and having one regardless.
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