Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Single mothers are evil

David Laws, the insufferably smug Liberal Democrat work and pensions spokesman, has come up with a policy to warm the cockles of the Daily Mail. He wants to take money away from single parents.

Yes, you did read that correctly. Currently, single parents can claim income support until the youngest child is 16, but David wants to reduce that limit in stages - starting when the youngest child starts secondary school at 11. How far they actually want to cut it is unclear, but I'm instinctively concerned about this.

This man's a laugh riot, because he also reckons that this will help to tackle child poverty. Yup, taking money away from parents always helps that. One of the quiet successes of the Labour government has been in increasing the amount of money used to support the poorest in our society - and single parents often fall into that group. A survey a little while ago gave the lie to the right-wing media view that if you give single parents extra money, they'll just spend it on scratchcards and alcohol. Sure, there are some that waste it, but that's what you get for a free society. Most chose to spend it on their kids - clothing, food and even the odd day out. For every single parent pilloried in the press for getting pregnant to get their council house, there are dozens more trapped in poverty and desperate to get out to give their kids a better life.

I do believe that we have a responsibility to society to do all we can to support ourselves and our families - I'm the product of a single-parent family where my mother worked throughout my childhood. We do need to encourage and support people to rejoin the employment market and I believe that we can achieve more through education in basic skills than by wielding a big stick.

Not even Thatcher had the gall to try this trick. So much for Ming's declaration that they are a centre-left party (an odd definition as we've heard repeatedly over the past few weeks that terms like left and right are outdated). With many more policies like these, David Cameron will be wondering where his clothes went.

1 comment:

SurvivingSingleMom said...

Thanks for sharing this information. Let's just say as a single parent I was a little disturbed that this guy thinks this is going to help poverty. You're right, taking money away from parents to clothe, feed and support their children, is not the way to go. Thanks for the post.