Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 16 July 2008

The socialist comment

Government attacks single parents

The government's new welfare legislation is demanding that, by the year 2010, single parents who are claiming benefits will have to return to the workplace once their youngest child reaches seven years of age. Initial changes are due to take place in October of this year, when lone parents with a child of 12 years will be expected to work. By 2009 the changes will be implemented when the child is ten.

Jane Harris, Winchester Socialist Party

This massive change in welfare benefits will be strongly felt by the organisations that are expected to support lone parents. But the legislation will hit single parents who receive income support hard. Many will have to go on job seekers allowance (JSA).

But JSA can create a whole set of problems. The government promises that childcare facilities will be in place to take into account the expected growth in employed people who have young children. In many areas, affordable and good childcare is still lacking.

The childcare costs survey, conducted by Daycare Trust, the National Childcare Campaign, found that more than two-thirds (70 per cent) of Children's Information Services in England said that parents had reported a lack of affordable childcare in the last 12 months.

JSA is only paid if the recipient is actively looking for work. This can inhibit people from taking up courses in local colleges, which may take place during the day as this renders them unable to work. However, the government would have us believe that job seekers will be actively encouraged to hone their skills and learn new ones, but preferably in the evenings so as not to disrupt their working day.

And if childcare is available for these parents who have to return to work, the legislation does not take into account that most childcare at 'after school clubs' only provides for children up to age eleven. Many parents rightly feel that their 12 year-old is too young to be left on their own for long periods of time, particularly over the school holiday period.

No choice

Not all childcare facilities are suitable for every child and a parent may feel uneasy leaving their child at centres etc. Annual leave for parents is also fraught with problems as most people are only entitled to four or five weeks' annual leave a year and the average school holidays stretch to thirteen weeks, leaving parents of young children with no option but to stick them into the childcare centres for nine weeks of the year, sometimes on a full-time basis.

If a single parent is forced back into the workplace, it is likely that they will need to work 16 hours minimum to be entitled to working tax credit, but they may find that in order to be financially better off they will have to work longer hours and leave their child for longer periods.

New Labour, along with the Tories, is intent on forcing single parents into minimum wage work without providing decent childcare, enacting legislation that brutally punishes Britain's most vulnerable people.

Socialists must demand a guaranteed minimum weekly income for all families and the right to work without compulsion. Childcare should be of high quality and free for all. We need to organise and fight back against a government that wants to push back living standards for working-class families to pay for the failures of capitalism.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 16 July 2008:

Global finance crisis deepens

Feature: Price inflation - the sickness of capitalism

Global Warming

Change the system! not the climate

International socialist news and analysis

Sri Lanka general strike

Military threat to Iran stepped up

Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS - birthday greetings and warnings

Ambulances - calls doubled, no extra staff

Polyclinic courts Branson

Ex-Foley-ated! Union bashing NHS boss resigns as staff defeat pay cuts

Socialist Party campaigns

Glasgow East by-election Socialist change needed

Durham Miners' Gala rejects New Labour

One Wales rule for the rich...

Post Office Leeds: Haranguing in the rain

Greenwich: Employers' hypocrisy

Bangor: Bus protest

Workplace news and analysis

Visteon takeover: Workers' determination defends conditions

Shop stewards conference: Workers and war

Workplace news: In brief


Notts campaign against the racist BNP grows

Anti-racism stall in Wrexham

No to the BNP's attempt to divide Stoke's communities!

'Dear Boris' - we will NOT be silenced!

The Socialist Comment

Government attacks single parents

Socialist Party review

Live Working or Die Fighting: How the working class went global


Home   |   The Socialist 16 July 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

Lone parents:

triangleWelfare 'reform' - fight these attacks

triangleIn brief

triangleLabour bashes lone parents

triangleNew Labour attacking our vital benefits


triangleWeakened Tories forced into Northern Ireland abortion u-turn

triangleTories out! Corbyn can win with socialist policies

triangleFight Tories' callous cuts pushing 200,000 more kids into poverty

triangleWomen need secure jobs and equal pay, not patronising 'returnships'


triangleDon't wreck our rec! Campaigning to save green space in Standish

triangleShocking insight into Isis

triangleOne in four teenage girls depressed - crisis made worse by cuts

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Justice for Tube cleaners demo



Salford Unison condemns pay cuts


Royal Mail

CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike



Carlisle NHS campaigners hand in petition to MP



Don't wreck our rec! Campaigning to save green space in Standish



No more fire deaths - ensure safety now!



Cardiff Socialist Students confront 'Parasite' Jacob Rees-Mogg


John McDonnell

Manchester rally discussed unionisation and nationalisation



Join the Orgreave Halloween rally



Workplace news in brief


Democratic rights

Who's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights


Northern Ireland

Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs



Too much to cross the Mersey


Royal Mail

Set for national strike action



Supporting the general strike in Catalonia

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle16 Oct Teesside Socialist Party: After the party conferences

triangle17 Oct London: TUC lobby & rally; and London march

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice