Absent Dads and the benefits system

I can recommend the Panorama programme "Britain's missing Dads" which can be seen for the next week on BBC iPlayer here.

The programme will make most of those who have been fortunate enough to be part of a two-parent family feel a whole gamut of emotions about that section of society where fathers have no contact with their children, or none beyond paying maintenance.

While no generalisation about such a complex issue will apply to every family concerned, the fact that we have allowed the rules of the welfare state to penalise parents who stay together is quite insane. One young father estimated that if he were to move in with the mother of his child it would cost them £30 a week in lost benefits. As Frank Field MP said on the programme, if you wanted to design a crazy system to damage families you could not do better than the one we have now.

There are families where there has not been an active dad for more than one generation - and where some of the people involved are coming to think that, as one mother and grandmother said on the programme, fathers are not necessary. Society has failed any person who is allowed to form that opinion.


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