Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 5 November 2008

Labour bashes lone parents

Lone parents need decent wages and benefits, photo Paul Mattsson

Lone parents need decent wages and benefits, photo Paul Mattsson

FROM 24 November lone parents claiming benefits for the first time, whose youngest or only child is 12 or over will no longer be able to claim income support. They will have to sign on as available for work and claim jobseekers allowance. Although existing claimants aren't affected for now, the government intends to 'roll out' these changes to them over the next few months.

Eleanor Donne

From 2009 if the government get their way, lone parents with children aged ten or over will have to sign on, and from 2010, this will apply to those with seven year olds. This will cause no end of stress and disruption to families, many of whom will have been newly separated, or divorced, widowed or have escaped domestic violence. On top of all this they will be expected to prove they are actively seeking work.

Lone parent groups have raised concerns that the most vulnerable people may miss work related appointments and end up with a 40% reduction in their benefit - causing even more hardship and insecurity. The government has not answered the question - where are these 12 year olds going to be whilst their parent is at work?

The Day Care Trust recently found that there is a 'gross shortage' of childcare places and that childcare in the UK is the most expensive in Europe. In addition, many places only go up to age eleven. The government condemns parents for letting their teenage children 'run wild' but wants to force parents out to work at a time when they may be most needed.

The second question is where are the jobs? With unemployment forecast at two million by Christmas, how are lone parents to find work - especially work which could fit around their childcare responsibilities?

How ironic that the idea of forcing lone parents to sign on came from a 'radical review' of the welfare system carried out in 2006 by one David Freud, ex-investment banker and Financial Times journalist.

After all, the idea of no rights without responsibilities is big in the banking world and you couldn't have expected a banker or the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Gordon Brown at the time) to know what was going to happen to the economy!

However, the government are under mounting pressure from one-parent lobby groups, and their own advisers to drop or at least delay the next phase of the changes in the face of economic downturn and unemployment.

Fiona Weir, chief executive of One Parent Families/Gingerbread said: "The government is piling the pressure on lone parents at a time when the labour market and Jobcentre Plus are already creaking under the strain of extra unemployment."

The Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC), which is appointed by ministers, is very critical of the proposals, and they have urged the government not to press ahead with the extension of the changes until they have evidence that the promised 'wraparound childcare provision' is there.

Mark Serwotka of the PCS (civil service) union has expressed opposition both in terms of the extra work for his members and the element of compulsion in the new system.

Socialists should add our voices to this opposition and campaign against these changes.

If the government were serious about ending child poverty they could have spent some of the billions that have gone towards bailing out the bankers on good quality childcare and decent minimum wage and benefit levels. We should not be made to pay for their crisis.

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

In The Socialist 5 November 2008:

Striking against low pay

US election

Obama wins, neo-cons routed in US presidential elections

George Bush's toxic legacy

If Obama wins - Looking beyond the hope bubble

Socialist Party campaigns

Labour bashes lone parents

Canary Wharf: Low paid workers welcome socialist campaigners

Sri Lanka: Acting out oppression

What recession?

Fast news

Marxist analysis: history

1918 revolution: When German workers entered the stage of history

Socialist Students

New Labour retreats on promises to students

Victory over Tory school closure plan

Austria: Socialist players suspended from football club for anti-fascist activities

Year 9 SATs abolished: Now get rid of the rest!

Republic of Ireland: Student fightback

Socialist Party workplace news

Liverpool City Council: Housing maintenance workers fight for jobs

Fighting for a socialist solution to the crisis in the car industry

Shipyard strike for fair wage

Striking for trade union rights

Turkish dockers fight workplace 'massacres'


Home   |   The Socialist 5 November 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

triangleTories torn - bin them now

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

triangleThe end of the Tories?

Lone parents:

triangleWelfare 'reform' - fight these attacks

triangleIn brief

triangleGovernment attacks single 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


triangleCapitalism and human progress


triangleSchools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

Child poverty:

triangleNasty party out the Tories

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?



Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



Balloting members on the pay cap



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future



Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP



Uprising to save the NHS!



Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems



Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

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

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian 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