MSE News: Minister answers concerns on lone parent benefits

edited 27 December 2010 at 4:51AM in Benefits & Tax Credits
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edited 27 December 2010 at 4:51AM in Benefits & Tax Credits
This is the discussion thread for the following MSE News Story:

"Some benefits have been tightened this year so the minister in charge of them agreed to address your worries ..."
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Replies

  • No mention of enough wrap around childcare, no mention of any childcare for disabled children/ teens.

    Personally I think if there was suitable childcare provisions many lone parents would be in the workplace. There is nothing more soul destroying than sitting at home all day everyday looking at the same four walls.

    Many lone parents aren't serial breeders ;)
    *SIGH*
    :D
  • KimitatsuKimitatsu Forumite
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    Until you make it easy to understand with adequate child care provision (not just for the real babies but also give the older children something to do with their time) then take up of benefits will always be an issue.

    I see lone parents with 4 children under 10 who get in their hand roughly £1000 a month (their housing and council tax is already paid for them). In order to make it easy for them to go back to work you have to provide a job which after tax, NI and childcare will gross over £23K a year and thats in the rural north. In London it would be far higher........

    Many of these people have little education because school didnt work for them, and find it hard to access training as night schools are just that in the evenings.

    So, fund community centres with youth activities as well as the SureStart creche system and ensure that colleges run classes during school hours for parents. Some colleges do already but with the latest round of cuts, many are dropping the subjects which they dont HAVE to do. Make an appointment with a welfare benefits adviser a neccessity so that they are aware of the benefits they are entitled to, almost like financial advice once a year, with drop in sessions if their circumstances change, that way they can make the right decisions for themselves.

    Part time jobs are all very well, but how many of them are within school hours? Not every school provides child care after school, and child minders are decreasing not increasing in numbers under the weight of Ofsted paperwork. Part time jobs still also need child care in the holidays, whilst some areas are well covered others are not, and many parents are not aware that they can claim child care costs just for the holidays.

    The universal credit idea is a good one, but only if there is a sustained campaign of what the recipients can claim for within that credit.
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  • While I do acknowledge that money generally is pretty tight, I do have concerns that we could be storing up yet more social problems for the future. I feel that many of society's ills can be traced back to the era of the "latch key kids" in the 60s when children got home from school and were left to their own devices. This was the time when one parent working and one parent stay at home was normal - then it changed. I'm not offering solutions - just an observation.

    On a more humorous note, the lead article does have a marvellous Freudian slip where it (at one point) refers to a lone parent as "loan" parent. Pretty apt I guess.
    I rather enjoyed the reference to "Royal Ascent" too. It puts a whole new meaning on having "God Save the Queen" as the national anthem :D .

    Maybe I'm too easily amused.
  • davidgmmafandavidgmmafan Forumite
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    85% of positions are part time is what stood out to me. We know and its pretty rubbish if you ask me. I'm sure many people prefer part time jobs, but full time work retreating cannot be a good thing for everyone!
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  • FBabyFBaby Forumite
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    Providing for your family should be any parents number 1 priority, whether you are a couple of a single parent. The issue of childcare always come up as a reason to prevent employment for single parent. It might the case that some areas are more behind then others when it comes to provision of wrap-around care, but there are many places where the provision is excellent. So if as a single parent you live somewhere where you can't get support from family, you should consider moving somewhere where this is available. I live in a small seaside cost town and the provision is excellent. Plenty of nurseries open from 7:30 to 6pm, most school offer morning/afterschool/holiday clubs, and plenty of holiday scheme clubs are very decent prices (the local college offer activities for £12 per day 8am-6pm). Not many jobs in the town (although plenty in care homes), but there are two decent sized towns 1/2 hour away on the train, so commuting is reasonable.

    When my eldest was born, I lived in London and going back to my job would have been impossible (transport, cost of childcare etc..), so we moved and I looked for another job. It meant living the only life I knew and starting a fresh somewhere I knew no one, but providing for my child was the most important thing. I quickly made friends through my daughter's nursery and work and now have twice as many friends as I used to. I now have a system in place with two others mums to help each other during holidays which means I need little childcare during the holidays. WTC will pay up to 85% of childcare for single parent, making going back to work feasible. I now work annualised hours to the equivalent of 0.9fte, earn a good salary, and can provide well for my children. I don't think I could have done it if I'd stayed where I was when my eldest was born.

    Sometimes you have to stop focussing on what you can't do and look at what opportunities are around. It is likely to mean having to give something that means a lot to you, but what you get from it long term will be worth it.
  • Oh my, you glibly suggesting that for those who have no family support "moving where this is available" is a good option. Whether you meant moving nearer the family or nearer unspecified support is not clear but to say you are not thinking things through is an understatement. Not everyone will have your ability or resources to make the best of a sometimes dire situation.These famiies need our support- thats what makes us a civilized society
  • LondonDivaLondonDiva Forumite
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    I agree with FBaby - given the number of people highlighting childcare as an issue, there is an obvious gap in the market. Why not set up as a childminder, or look into setting up a nursery, working in a nursery, running an after school or holiday club?

    Allparents face the childcare issues - the issues around provision are not exclusive to single parents, it's just that single parents / those on low incomes get supported access to clubs etc.

    I think it is time to stop the expectation that the perfect job will be conjured up just for single parents before they should work. Nobody with a partner is supported in the expectation that they can wait for a perfect job to come before they work. We expect couples to go to work and negotiate with their employers / prove themselves as an asset or try different options before hitting on the right fit for them.

    If some single parents can manage to get on with it and make it work, there is no excuse for others to refuse until things are 'just right'.
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  • LondonDiva wrote: »
    I agree with FBaby - given the number of people highlighting childcare as an issue, there is an obvious gap in the market. Why not set up as a childminder, or look into setting up a nursery, working in a nursery, running an after school or holiday club?
    Because not all single parents are Mary Poppins. The same old line trotted out time and time again, the solution is so simple set up a nursery, set up a creche :doh: If it was so simple then when is it not happening now.
    *SIGH*
    :D
  • LondonDiva wrote: »
    If some single parents can manage to get on with it and make it work, there is no excuse for others to refuse until things are 'just right'.
    So tell me just how many childminders do you know that will look after disabled children and just how many childminders/after school clubs do you know that cater for disabled children? So you see until these are sorted some lone parents do have a right to refuse until things are just right.
    *SIGH*
    :D
  • LondonDiva wrote: »
    Allparents face the childcare issues - the issues around provision are not exclusive to single parents, it's just that single parents / those on low incomes get supported access to clubs etc.

    We expect couples to go to work and negotiate with their employers / prove themselves as an asset or try different options before hitting on the right fit for them.

    I have highlighted the key word here - which is couples....yes we know that all parents have childcare problems but when you are in a couple, there are 2 of you...that's 2 that can do the drop off, 2 that can do the pick up, 2 that are there so someone can be there in an emergency if the other is not, 2 that can sit down at night and work out a schedule between them and then finally, there are 2 sets of employers than can be negotiated with so that when one goes to their employer, they can ask for a certain working pattern and confirm that their partner is doing the other part.

    You are a couple and can work as a tag team.

    When you are a lone parent you don't have that luxury...every single little detail is left to you.

    No one is suggesting that lone parents want it handed to them on a plate in regards to childcare but I am for one grateful that our Government realises that being a lone parent is just that - it is simply twice the workload so they are trying to make it more accessible for them to go back to work.
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