During this election campaign there is a lot of talk of hard working people and families. There is a lot of talk too of childcare and in work ‘help’ toward the cost of childcare.
Look, I did my fair share of parenting, I got Child Benefit and got some benefits for the entire family. It wasn’t really a choice and I had my children when I was working so, I feel I made a choice I could afford them. It was circumstances which changed, not my fault and therein is a complication.
Should people have children with the intent on fully funding them or, should they have them and, what the hell, the state will pay if they can’t?
I am concerned that just about every party is encouraging childbirth at the cost of responsibility. It is as though they are saying having children is a right, everyone is entitled to have children and the state will pick up at least part of the tab for that. But, is this the right message to send?
How far really is it from what the Conservatives, back in the 80’s described as single mothers having babies to live off the state?
Is there actually any difference at all between those benefits people receive for being unemployed or disabled and those they receive because their employer doesn’t pay them enough? A single person, no children should be entitled to around £4-800 a year on minimum wage but lose virtually all entitlement once they get £7.60 an hour. That presumed they work 30 hours a week, if they do just 36 hours a week, even on minimum wage they get nothing.
Add a child and the levels rise substantially. That it is call a ‘tax credit’ doesn’t mean that it is any less than a state handout. Everyone is paying for someone who has one or more children to work. True, I think I’d rather subsidise a parent who was working that one who was a lazy arse with no intention of working but, why should we? Surely, if someone is working their employer should enable them to have the lifestyle they are earning? But, this is sort of thing. Parents are deciding to go back to work and allowing the state to pick up a large part of their childcare costs. Sometimes, even if those parents are no better off financially they are both at work leaving paid strangers to raise their children.
This makes me wonder, why have children if you do not intend to do the most important job any parent has? That job is to be their teaching them the ways of the world to your own standards, showing them how to form lasting relationships, to love, play and feel part of something special, a loving family. How can that be achieved if they are off to the day care at dawn and home in time for bed?
I am thinking more and more that we need to educate our children that, if they have children that THEY are the parents. Do not have children unless they are raised by someone who loves them, ideally a parent but certainly family and, do not have children unless you as a family can fund those children. Leave the benefits system for those most in need, those who need support through no fault of their own. The current way of thinking doesn’t allow individuals to strive for more, it allows them to feel that they’ll be supported financially no matter what. It allows employers to get off the hook of paying a living wage.
A couple with children needs around £15 an hour at 36 hours a week to fully support their family with the cost of things as they stand, that figure includes child benefit, that’s a take home salary of just £20,000 a year. But, we cannot discriminate, what needs to happen is that employers need to be looking at that sort of cost for everyone over 25 regardless of their intent to have children or not.
Bottom line is, the state should stop subsidising employers to pay low wages to their staff whilst giving the bosses 30% pay rises and £million salaries and the state should stop saying that having children will be subsides too. Having children is, for most, a choice. Because someone can do something, does it follow that they should?
Trade Unions came to the fore when ordinary citizens felt paralysed, when they realised that only together could they change their standard of living. They got no other support from the state, if they didn’t work, they didn’t get anything and that very face empowered the masses to rise up and make their lives better. Successive governments have made people soft, made people feel they no longer need to be together, that every man and women for themselves will work. It won’t. Being on benefits sucks and benefits are just that, working or not. When you get them ‘they’ own you. At a stroke of a pen your life can be changed, the money cut off. You lose everything you worked for so, they own you. Only when we do not rely on benefits and have proper paying jobs are we free to plan, to make our own choices in life.
But, as far as I can, no party is going to reverse the Conservative 1980’s laws against unions which made them a force to be reckoned with. For now and until we start growing a pair, we are owned by the State. If they own our income, they control us.
None of us should strive to be on benefits or any kind, leave them to those poor buggers, like me, who find that making a contrary choice is way too risky. I am seriously starting to think I am in last chance saloon, I may never get out the benefits trap.