PM Rules Out Measures to Discourage Having Children on a Benefit Monday, May 30, 2011
Nearly one in four current sole parent beneficiaries has added a child to their existing benefit. During Cabinet discussions today the Prime Minister ruled out the Welfare Working Group's recommendations to discourage this from happening.
Welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell expressed her disappointment in this decision. "In an effort to discourage this practice, the Welfare Working Group recommended that if a second or subsequent child is added, then work-testing should begin 14 weeks after the birth of that child, in line with Paid Parental Leave entitlements. This is to discourage avoidance of paid work. Paid work is ultimately the best way out of poverty and it provides children with a working role model, building expectations that they will also work as adults. Changing childhood expectations is crucial to breaking inter-generational dependence on welfare.
As long as unconditional incomes continue while having young dependent children in their care, some parents will exploit the system. The Prime Minister said the WWG suggestion made him feel 'queasy'. He might consider whether children used as meal tickets are at greater risk of neglect and/or abuse and whether that makes him feel any less queasy."
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