Don’t let the children suffer

Most of us agree that parents should look after their own children and do the best for them. Most parents do just this, and there is no problem for the state or the neighbours.

There is a problem where loving parents lack the financial means to provide properly for their children, which is usually taken care of by state income top up, free service provision and benefit payments.

There is a worse problem where parents are unwilling or unable to provide a loving and safe home for their children. There the state has to make endless difficult judgements. Should it intervene, requiring the parents to work with a Social Worker in supervision? Should the state take the children away and put them into foster care for a period? Should the children be sent for adoption? Can the wider family including grandparents become involved to safeguard and provide for the children?

Whilst it is sadly the case that a small minority of parents are a threat or a source of harm or neglect for their children, it is also the case that there have been some bad examples of children in state care in childrens’ homes also not being well looked after.

The issue currently back on the agenda is the issue of how many children should a mother or father be allowed to have where they cannot make financial provision? Should it continue to be unlimited as at present? The case that argues for allowing any number of children is based on our understandable wish of not wanting the children to suffer.

Or should there be a future limit on how many children someone can have to attract more state financial support? Should the state ever reach the point where it says to a parent that they cannot increase their drawings from the state for extra children? If they despite the warning go ahead and have an extra child, what then should the state do?

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  1. Jon Burgess
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    The introduction of a benefit cap will at least start the process of limiting receipt of welfare in these cases. Personally, I would like to see an end to the state sponsorship of single parents, but as this is part of the plan to undermine the married family, we all know this is unlikely to happen with Cuddly Dave and his liberal chums in charge.
    You are right to point out that the State is a worse parent than most, so I would always favour children being looked after by wider family rather than the State, wherever this is possible.

    • Chris Young
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      My father died when I was nine.

      I was grateful that “state sponsorship” supported my mother, by then a “single parent” family, with a £6 PW pension, (1967).

      I view such a payment as a deferred payment as both she and my father had worked since they were 14 and paid appropriate taxes.

      • Jon Burgess
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        Can’t have been easy for you or her; you have my sympathy.
        What I meant by state sponsorship of single parents is the provision of unmarried mothers with housing and income. I don’t blame those that take advantage of it; it is a rational choice, but I do blame those who wish to encourage young women to have children without the means to look after them (without state help).
        Widows/widowers and orphans are a different issue entirely.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      Jon–Agree entirely about plan to undermine married family and attempt to make men and women not just equal but identical in the process. If ever there were a case for being cruel to be kind (to the kids, born and unborn) this is it and I would support anything that prevented those relying on benefits having unlimited children. The trouble would be with their human rights no doubt–some judge is bound to say that it is against the father’s rights to do the necessary and in effect treat him just as you might a dog.

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    “The issue currently back on the agenda is the issue of how many children should a mother or father be allowed to have where they cannot make financial provision? Should it continue to be unlimited as at present?”


    The last people to be involved are the State.
    The scandal of state intervention by social workers into people’s private lives must be about to break soon. Secrecy cloaks a mass of injustice: Christopher Booker writes weekly about this in the Telegraph.
    Rochdale seems to point somewhere? No? And it is by no means isolated either.
    And the decline of stable marriages and reliable family life which the State warmly supports might be important here?

    By and large, the State ought to keep right out of family life. Which means that you pay for your own children yourself! (And let us have less tax too please.)
    I think it ought to be down to private charities and especially Church agencies to look after the casualties, not the uncaring government and social services.

    • nicol sinclair
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Mike Stallard: You beat me to it! I am at a disadvantage being in Nepal when all these posts come in when I am well into my working day or even evening as now!

      Go on, JR. I challenge you to write/speak to Christopher Booker on the matter. He is very very well informed of misappropriation of unfortunate children by the State…

      Reply: —————————————————————

      • nicol sinclair
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        JR: You have failed to reply. May I ask why?

    • uanime5
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      Given that most social workers prefer to help people look after children, rather than take these children into care, I’m not sure what scandal you’re talking about.

      • Jon Burgess
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        Certainly a few cases spring to mind – Baby P for example. Unfortunately for some children, when the time comes to act, social services prove themselves to be hopelessly out of their depth.

  3. lifelogic
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    A very difficult problem indeed. When the state gets involved they will probably be even worse than the vast majority of the parents and cost far more. Look at the record for LEA care homes. Adoption or fostering is probably best, when the parents really cannot cope. No double the local authorities will put endless PC obstacles and fee earning costs in the way of adoption and fostering, as is their usual practice.

    We also read of many appalling cases where, through the secretive family courts, the state behaves like a child kidnapper with often no real justification at all.

    The usual response by this local authority industry after one of the many appalling cases is something like “We are criticised if we take children away and criticised if we do not then something serious happens”.

    Well yes indeed, and quite rightly so. Their job is to act when appropriate and not act when it is not. Do they not understand this?

    Off topic.

    I see that the government now accepts that green beliefs are (along with vegans and druids) indeed irrational religions and should now have new workplace rights under new equality rules.

    So one assume asking employees to clean the fridge, put some coal on the fire, drive the old diesel van, or turn the heating up will no longer be acceptable. Does this government want anyone in the UK to offer any jobs to people at all?

    • livelogic
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      Meanwhile if employees have a rational and logical reason for refusing to do something (as opposed to religious), then they will have no such protection I assume.

      • Little White Squibba
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        “Rational and reasonable” is not necessarily “opposed to religious”. The trouble is that any weird notion can be treated by our superiors as religious, in their deliberate driving out of religion generally.

        • lifelogic
          Posted April 9, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

          Well lets just say one based on actual evidence.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      I see Ed Milliband, the face of the state sector unions and alas soon to be PM, is make the right noises on Payday lenders. Why on earth has Cameron not done something about these lenders already. Loans at 100-2000% + advertised on mainstream daytime TY are of no use to anyone. Nearly everyone is far better of without any loan. It is an industry just creating misery for the desperate.

    • nicol sinclair
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      Livelogic: ” (along with vegans and druids)”. You forgot the Goths!

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Permalink


    • uanime5
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      We also read of many appalling cases where, through the secretive family courts, the state behaves like a child kidnapper with often no real justification at all.

      The family courts are secretive because they’re civil courts and the public only has the legal right to know what occurs in criminal courts. This is because civil courts deal with private issues, while criminal courts deal with breaches of the criminal law.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        Not correct as usual Uni.
        Family courts are very different in that they can and do ban those involved from even speaking about their case or the press from reporting details even if names are redacted, on pain of imprisonment for contempt of court.
        Civil courts rarely take this secretive and draconian action.

        • uanime5
          Posted April 9, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

          Judges have legal powers to prevent civil cases being reported to protect the welfare of the children or the parties involved. This is mainly used in the family court because it involves children more than other courts. However it can also be used in other areas of the law such as defamation.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 12, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for agreeing with me on this Uni.

  4. Simon_C
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Personally, I don’t see anything too wrong in the state saying that any increase in benefit beyond a certain level requires the use of an implant based contraceptive.

    But, I’m sure many would find that abhorrent.

    One question though, is how much does the state pay out in benefits to working age parents of families where there are large numbers of children. It could be that although there are plenty of individual stories of large families on benefits, the numbers at (say) 4 or more kids are such that it’s cheaper to keep paying than to try to change things. I’ve no idea if they are or not, I wonder if the government does.

  5. alan jutson
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Why should the Sate even be involved in subsidising the birth of Children in the first place with financial inducements.

    Having children is not a right, it is a choice (if you are lucky enough to be able to produce children in the first place) and we should never forget that.

    I can well understand that in years gone by a Country needed to keep its population high to provide for its future defence, and in later years to perhaps fuel its business expension, but in todays World where we are told many are in danger of eventual starvation because we are running out of food options, do we really need financial encouragement to produce more people.

    So I suggest Child benefits for your replacement, thus only one per adult.

    If you are concerned about the welfare of those children who are born, then I suggest the mother is best equipped in the majority of cases to do this job, rather than farming them out to someone else.
    Yes of course there are cases where the father may be better suited, or indeed grandparents, but in the vast majority of cases, almost anything is better than state provision, which should really be a last resort.

    To encourage parental care rather than farming out, why not reintroduce the spouses transfer of tax allowance, it could be made flexible enough to be assigned to whoever the non working parent decides, the father, one of the grandparents or a non married partner.

    Thus the above would help to keep the population stable, but if you would like a larger family, then it is down to the individual to plan and pay for that CHOICE not the taxpayer.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      The second part of your post today suggests that the State acts as a last resort, and I agree with that.

      Clearly we must have some safeguards with regard to care of the most vulnerable in our Society of which the young are part, but Social Services whilst having a difficult job, have not had the best of publicity in recent years as far as judgement is concerned.

      Perhaps we should look at how our Social Services are made up.
      Are they staffed with experienced people who have had a family themselves. Are they staffed with people who have a strong sense of intuition.
      Are they staffed with people who have a strong enough character.
      Are they staffed with people who simply care.
      Are they staffed with people who have had a number of years of life experience.

      I would suggest that certainly the front line personel should have all of the above, in order to operate in an effective manner.

      I await the wrath of comments from the university graduates who often seem to get such roles.

      Thus perhaps it is one of those jobs which perhaps older, and rather more experienced people would be ebtter suited to handle.

      • uanime5
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        The problem with requiring that social workers have a family or life experience is that it prevents anyone under 30 from being a social worker. So unless you can convince people to change their carer and become a social worker you’ll find it difficult to recruit enough people.

        • alan jutson
          Posted April 8, 2013 at 10:41 pm | Permalink


          That is exactly my point .
          Someone who is under 30 years of age in my humble opinion does not have anywhere near enough experience to be a Social worker, as they are still green behind the ears with regards to lifes exeriences for such a responsibility.

          What we need are people well experienced in all forms of life for such jobs.
          I guarantee if most grandmothers or granfathers walked into any family home, by simple observation of the surroundings, the mannerism of the parents, and sheer intuition would tell them if a child was at risk in most cases, then further more detailed but relevent questioning would shed further light on the situation.

          One thing is for sure, they would not suffer continuing excuses for not being let in !
          A reason/excuse given for many failures.

    • nicol sinclair
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Alan Jutson: “Why should the Sate even be involved in subsidising the birth of Children in the first place with financial inducements.”

      Hear, hear. The choice to have (or not have ) children is a personal one. If young Mums (without a live-in Father of them) chooses to have a cluster of bairns, that is her choice and the state should not be involved. (There are birth control methods that can be made available-ed)
      Go on, moderate me!

      • nicol sinclair
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

        JR: I see that you have moderated me. Free speech?

    • John Doran
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Alan hi.

      With regard to food supplies, Matt Ridley believes that peak land has been reached, ie we need not put any more acres under the plough to feed the world population.

      I couldn’t get on there today, but I’m sure if you get on & put peak land in the search box, that should work.

      Regards population, if you google that you get some surprises.
      I believe that population will peak around 2100 at around 10 billion & then decline as prosperity spreads, if we can avoid the creeping marxist takeover being sponsored by our 3 main parties.

      Regards the care of children I regard the state as the worst possible option, not even suitable as a last resort.

      (attacks actions of social services taking children into care-ed)

      Numbers are in the region of 60,000 + kiddies per year.

      We no longer live in a functioning democracy with this sort of (word left out ed) behaviour.

  6. Andyvan
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Once you start a welfare dependency state there is no end. Politicians almost always encourage that as a dependent voter is a docile voter that will support the status quo and not start to wonder how much better off we’d be without the whole state apparatus. All the rubbish about Tory cuts versus Labour spending on welfare is a smoke screen. Both completely support the socialist system we have- look at the spending figures for proof.
    The state has taken over the family heads job and has enabled the breadwinner to either stop work or leave. “The Parent State”, very much a socialist/communist/fascist ideal and all achieved whilst most people still think we live in a free country. Every little increase in Big Brother’s power over you is another prop for the system. Our lives are controlled and monitored by faceless drones and soon we’ll need a license just to keep our own kids.
    I’m just picturing the government drones I’ve come into contact with running my life. They are certainly experts on the seedier side of life having quite a few vices between them, almost all of which I hadn’t even tried and yet they regarded themselves as fit to judge other people. Who judges them?

    • forthurst
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      “The state has taken over the family heads job”

      The need for the destruction of the patriarchal family is an important tenet of the Cultural Marxist assault on Western civilisation. Furthermore, when women no longer need to select for the attributes of a stable and intelligent breadwinner, such attributes will cease to be transmitted in favour of those bequeathed by typical ‘absent’ fathers.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

        forthurst–Totally agree–It all comes back to the irrational goal of some of our dafter so-called leaders–Clegg comes to mind–to make men and women more and more not just equal but identical. If the Good Lord and Mother Nature had wanted them identical He and she would not have bothered with two sexes (and I mean sexes not genders).

  7. Electro-Kevin
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    This post represents the type of hurdle that Uanime5 puts in your way, Mr Redwood.

    Either you believe what Uanime5 says or you are so pinned down that you have to dedicate much time to reasoning against him. Both situations are worrying as we need to get out of this fix as quickly as we can.

    The fact is that the Philpots of this world (have many more children than-ed) honest working people – it is their culture, therefore, which gets transmitted.
    (This criminal is not typical of people on welfare – he is an extreme case of nastiness-ed)

    I once knew a Eurostar driver (a highly responsible, highly skilled and well paid job) who lived with his four kids in a one bed maisonette in Sth London in abject squalor.

    No-one in authority seemed to care about his kids. He was left on his own by the state to get on with it.

    When I was at Eurostar it was my kids who were not eligible for free school meals even though we couldn’t afford them ourselves. (London costs are huge)

    It is my kids going without school trips, the pet dog, the latest gear.

    I am not complaining. Life is very good compared to when I was a child but a lot of this is to do with the fact that we rationalise our spending and limit the number of children we have.

    (My boy represents England at orienteering next week. Never had a pair of Nikes in his life. Both twins are working towards their DofE awards.)

    If you want welfare dependents and the unemployable transmitting their mindsets and lifestyle choices at a greater pace than people like me transmit ours then listen to Uanime5.

    His ideas exacerbate the problem and are economically unsustainable.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Well said Kevin.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      What is ‘highly skilled’ about driving a train? There was a program on the box a while ago – can’t remember what it was about – one of the programs about managing money, I think – andone of the people featured was a Eurostar driver.

      60k a year. Very easy shift pattern. For what, sitting there holding a dead man’s handle? Where is the ‘skill’?

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

        The skill is in getting a job where you and a few others and the unios can bring the very expensive rail system to a stand still at will.

    • Mark W
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Spot on Kevin, well said.

      I personally believe that the situation can’t be changed for those in it currently. To have a large family to gain state support is a completely rational choice. I can’t blame those that make it. The fact that I think they should be ashamed of themsleves is my own belief and has no relevance to their entirely logical choice.

      What the state should do is give 9 months notice (human gestation period), that this support will no longer be available to new applicants for a third child or more (obviously a second birth with twins etc would be different).

      Is this harsh, well it’s what happens to those in work.

      And before the resident sixth form socialists come whining in about the cut in higher rate tax to 5% above where Labour had it, there is a clear distinction between benefits cuts and tax cuts. Tax is taking away something that belongs to the relevant tax payer, benefit is giving something to someone who did not have it in the first place.

      • uanime5
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

        The only major gain you can get by having a larger family is being able to request a larger property from the council (assuming they have any larger properties). The financial benefits from extra children benefit is low (£13.40 per week).

        The local and national elections will be the judge of whether these tax and benefit cuts were fair.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 8, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

          I didn’t realise you had inside information on the reasons everyone will be voting in the forthcoming elections.
          However if you say so, it must of course be right.

          • uanime5
            Posted April 9, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

            The benefit cuts affect 660,000 people, the tax cuts affect about 114,000 people (2010/11 figures). So the net result will be 546,000 people who are more likely to vote against the Conservatives.

            I don’t need inside information when I have access to statistics.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 10, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

            You are assuming this issue will be the most important matter for people when deciding on who vote for, rather than other matters like the popularity of the party leaders, the strength of the local candidiate, health, education, unemployment issues and even the EU.
            You are perfectly entitled to your opinion that this will be the main issue for voters.
            When the election results are known we can try and guess what the intentions of each voter was.

    • nicol sinclair
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      @Kevin: What a fine and thoughtful post. I sincerely hope that JR is listening. Then he can tell his Tory friends what the real situation is and what it is like to live/work/survive in the real world outside the bubble. I never had Nikes – they were not invented when I would have wanted (needed) them. My daughters likewise never had a single Nike for either foot between them – we couldn’t afford them!

    • uanime5
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      The fact is that the Philpots of this world (have many more children than-ed) honest working people – it is their culture, therefore, which gets transmitted.

      What exactly is “their culture”? How can you be sure it will be transmitted when the children will have a different DNA combination to their parents and will be influenced by different factors? How can you be sure that the children will want to follow in their parent’s footsteps give how few children want to do what their parents do?

      • Jon Burgess
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

        Generations of the same family opting to live off benefits instead of finding work and supporting themselves. It happens. Why would you bother with the world of work if you’d seen your father/mother get by on state aid? Especially if the bog standard comprehensive you went to made no real effort to educate you or engender any self discipline.
        Once, grammar schools gave bright poor kids a chance of a way out. God help them now.

        • uanime5
          Posted April 9, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

          Studies have shown that generations living off benefits are the exception rather than the rule. Most young people realise that if their parents are poor that if they want the latest gizmo they need to get a job.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 10, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

            A recnt report said there were over 600,000 households where no one in them has worked and of those nearly 20% are said to be multi generational households.
            Additionally the report (in the Guardian, so it must be right) said there was another large number of multi generational families who had never worked who live in close proximity to each other but in seperate homes who were not counted.

          • Bazman
            Posted April 10, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

            Stop quoting the Guardian as the Daily Mail propaganda. Read this and then get back to us.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 11, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

            Dont tell me what to do.
            The figures I quoted were from a report done by a respected research body published in a repsected national newspaper.
            Just because you dont like it doesnt make it not true.

          • Bazman
            Posted April 11, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

            We are still waiting Edward? Normally you have a lot to say? Ram it.

          • Bazman
            Posted April 13, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

            Which report will that be Edward so we can have a look?

      • alan jutson
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

        Unanime 5

        “What exactly is their Culture”

        Ever heard of role models, where people tend to learn and be influenced by those around them.

        No one in the family working = Child unlikely to learn a work ethic.
        All money from Benefits = Child thinks this is normal and someone else always pays.
        Parents Violent = Child thinks this is normal behaviour.
        Home with no books = child not encouraged to read.
        TV on 24 hours a day = child sits and views a box.

        Could go on but sure you really get the point without me going further.

        • uanime5
          Posted April 9, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

          No one in the family working = Child unlikely to learn a work ethic.

          Depends what the parents do all day. If the parents do DIY, play sport, or do anything that involves effort a child is likely to learn so work ethic.

          All money from Benefits = Child thinks this is normal and someone else always pays.

          And what lesson does a child learn who has everything paid for by their parents?

          Parents Violent = Child thinks this is normal behaviour.

          Studies have shown that children are more likely to be anxious, depressed, and do badly in school if they witness violence. It’s only once they reach adolescences they tend to lash out.

          Home with no books = child not encouraged to read.

          Unless they play a video game that has a lot of text. Or they turn the subtitles on these games.

          TV on 24 hours a day = child sits and views a box.

          This can cause communication problems, specifically being unable to talk to others, however this isn’t permanent and can be resolved with therapy.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 12, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

            Sometimes Uni, I think you like to argue just for the sake of it.
            Anything will do, as long as its the opposite of what is originally written.

  8. s macdonald
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Yes of course there should be a limit to child allowances – cap it at two, announce it clearly 12 months in advance (for obvious reasons), don’t make it retrospective, make it universal to reduce admin expenses. And extend it to refusing subsidies (benefits) in other ways: in future, anyone having 2 or more children wanting bigger houses will have to fund it themselves. And tell anyone who says that they are procreating for religious reasons to ask their church or synagogue or temple to fund them.

    I’m not a child hater – I have two of my own, and 3 grandchildren, but I’m fed up with people ‘having a laugh’ at my expense.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Surely, you’d have to annouce it 20 years in advance. If someone has 5 kids now – and you reduce it to 2 in a year’s time – that means that family is going to face very hard times.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        One way would be to reduce child benefit to just the first two children and bring that rule in for any child born 1 year from the start of the legislation.
        Although this would take many years to gradually take full effect it wouldn’t harshly hit those who already had more than two children.

  9. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    What happened to personal responsibility? It is the reeponsibility of the parents, not the state, to provide for their children. If parents cannot afford to bring up children then they should not have them. The years are well passed when large families proliferaated because of the lack of effective birth control. The state hasn’t caught up with this but in fact has encouraged some people to have more children because that means more benefits. Very often those children seem to be born outside a stable family of mother and father. This cannot be a sound basis for the future. Why should there be any child benefit provided by the state? The population is growing rapidly as is also immigration. Child benefit is being paid to immigrants who claim for children still living in their home country. Benefit, if paid at all, should be one child per adult.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately, your ideas falter as soon as you look at the reality of our current situation.

      The fact is that because pensions paid today are from tax collected today – there is no fund – you can never allow the population to fall. We need, as a minimum, the population to stay stable.

      But, with the insane cost of living these days – in particular the price of housing – the next generation will be unable to afford to buy or rent a home.

      How much is a 3 bed semi to buy in Wokingham? £275k? How much to rent? £1500 a month.

      How can anyone on even well above average wages hope to own or rent a home, have a couple of children and pay for all the other things you need these days (most people HAVE to have a car to get to work).

      So, having allowed bankers to successively lend more and more money into the housing market to drive house prices up and make us feel rich with our unearned equity, the state has to provide support to people to have children – or people are going to stop having children.

      Our falling birth rate was arrested by Labour by allowing mass immigration. But most of us are fed up with that now. So, state support is the only way – unless you accept the fact there will not be enough people around in the future to pay our pensions.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        A slow decline in the population would be manageable and beneficial for future generations, but those who look to profit from increased population will fight like tigers to prevent that ever happening.

  10. Max Dunbar
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Two points come to mind immediately.
    Firstly, no matter what anyone may say about equality, it is women who decide and women who produce the children. Ultimately, men generally have little say or control in the matter when it comes to making hard decisions and this is also reflected in the law.
    Secondly, the state has contributed to the problems with the forced break-up and demolition of whole areas and re-housing of the population (not the well-off intellectuals who were responsible for this disaster of course) in new towns and high-rise buildings during the 60s and 70s.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      And child benefit, or Family Allowance as it used to be known, was introduced and given to the mother so that the children of working class fathers who spent their wages in the pub and betting shop would not starve.

      Can’t see that much has changed.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 9, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        I don’t think there were betting shops when it was first introduced.

  11. Nationalist
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    I think benefits for children should only be available for children conceived or born in wedlock. Bearing children as a loan parent shows a clear intention to pass the financial burden to the taxpayer (absent substantial private means.) And then there should be a limit of two children per couple.

    • Nationalist
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      (I meant “lone” parent!)

  12. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    There are powerful forces in our society who seek personal gain through an expanding population.

    Take note of what has happened over recent decades, during which a previous government policy of actively encouraging family planning to limit population growth, coupled with a “would-be zero immigration” policy, has been turned around to a policy of allowing and encouraging mass immigration on whatever pretext can be devised.

    Be warned: as far as our elite are concerned there is nothing special about the people of this country – in fact if you read Boris Johnson in the Telegraph today you may perhaps sense the opposite, that he has a low opinion of the native people of this country – and if they fail to have enough of their own children then the government will simply arrange to import other people’s children from abroad, in whatever quantities may be required.

    Which is pretty much how plantation owners made sure of a sufficient labour force and their own profits; when their existing stock of slaves had failed to breed enough new slaves, they brought in new slaves to make up the shortfall.

    Therefore those who argue that there should be no public assistance at all for parents with children are mistaken if they believe that this would help to prevent over-population, instead they are unwittingly strengthening the hand of those who demand mass immigration to sustain and expand the population.

    I suppose that at some point democracy may kick in, and the people of this country, sometimes described as its citizens, may finally have some kind of say over these matters, but not if the elite can possibly prevent that.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 9, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Please, JR, is there a particular reason why you haven’t published this?

  13. MajorFrustration
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    It seems so obvious – cap child allowance at the two children level. So why cant the politicos stop posturing and get on with it.

    • Bob
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Can you imagine the squealing from the work intolerent community.

  14. Roger Farmer
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I suggest a radical way forward that would centre on schools.
    To begin with lets revert to lunch at school. A proper healthy meal with no option of chips and crisps. At least the children would have one good meal per day. If catering companies in cities can feed people mid Atlantic then it should not be difficult on the ground. The cost can come out of the child allowance. Value analysis of what is done for airlines should provide a basis for what can be provided at what price. In extreme cases you are ensuring that the money is well spent rather than going towards Bingo, Cigarettes, Booze or flat screen TVs
    Schools should also offer a haven of after hours activities including homework. You might even consider sport one afternoon per week with inter school matches on Saturdays. (some ofthe -ed) leadership of the teaching unions would hate it, but they probably long gave up actual teaching.
    On the question of child allowance, the limit should be two children and nothing thereafter. (words left out ed)In extreme cases of bad parenting then the answers need to be extreme, based on fostering and adoption, but not before the fostering and adoption industry is cleansed of its (words left out ed) politically correct decision making. Children’s needs should be paramount.
    It would seem that Michael Gove is trying very hard to produce an education system that is fit for purpose. I wish him well. Following it’s dilution, instituted by that privileged socialist Anthony Crosland, it needs once more to become the ladder up which the disadvantaged succeed in life. Many of the inadequate parents we see today are the product of his destructive involvement in education. Any country that for reasons of race, colour, sex or parental wealth fails to educate it’s children to the level of their capability is very stupid and deserves to reap the social problems in the UK that are daily manifest.

  15. Kenneth
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    The irony is that, as the state takes up to 50% (sometimes more) from our earnings, mothers have been forced to work more hours.

    Socialism is unintentionally cruel.

  16. Alte Fritz
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Let pregnancy cease to be a key to a life on benefits. If the single mother cannot support and the father will not, then adoption should be the answer, not dependency. If someone has many children, let the state support conditional on the father working. Let the extended family mxing up children from different relationships be a bar to benefits.

    All sounds harsh stuff, but how many countries in the world make the state underwrite lifestyle choices? No man has to wander through life creating clusters of children around different women. If that’s his choice, let him pay.

    • uanime5
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Adoption is when someone takes a child out of care and makes them part of their family. So the state doesn’t adopt children when parents can’t care for them.

      Also what happens if the father can’t work because of injury, death, or the lack of jobs in the local area? If families lose their benefits if the father doesn’t work but not if he’s dead expect a lot of suicides and men faking their death.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 12, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        Your first claim is competely and wrong.
        Council social workers have the powers to take your children off you and put then into care/fostering.
        They then can get those children adopted.
        There have been many injustices as a poor individual parent tries to counter the arguments of State funded experts and social workers to keep their children.
        Have a look into it and see what the excellent John Hemmings MP and Christopher Booker are campaigning about.
        You wont have heard much about this because of the way the family courts avoid publicity.

  17. English Pensioner
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    There are a lot of us who don’t trust the judgement or the abilities of those social workers who work in the area of childcare.
    The son of close friends of ours lost his wife from cancer when their daughter was three years old, and the social workers seem convinced that that a man can’t bring up a young girl and keep trying to persuade him to have her adopted. He’s lost his wife, and if the social workers had their way, they’d take his daughter. Unlike unmarried mothers, the social workers seem to give him very little support; an unmarried mother can stay at home all day, whilst he is considered idle if he’s not working. Fortunately he’s got good neighbours who help him if necessary and will collect his daughter when she starts school in September, but at present his parents (in their late seventies) are having to drive thirty miles each way, twice a week, to look after her to save on nursery costs. Yes, his home might be a bit of a shambles to social workers, but he is terrified that one day they will find that he is doing something “wrong” in their eyes and take his daughter away. Instead of finding fault, the state’s representatives should be thinking of ways to help him.

    In that we had a brush with a social worker some thirty years ago when our eldest daughter was twelve, I fully appreciate his concerns and wouldn’t trust most social workers as far as I can see them, As far as I am concerned any state interference in this area should be very much a matter of the very last resort.

    • Robert Randall
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      In response English Pensioner I can only say that I am appalled and very worried for your friend’s son.

      My wife and I are foster carers and have some 11 years of experience dealing with the Social Work department of our local authority in Scotland. I can honestly say that they are, in the main, very supportive of us and I know that they are also supportive of lone parents of either sex. Yes sometimes they have made some strange suggestions to us about our charges, for example trying to split up a brother and sister because the boy had behavioural difficulties due to his background of abuse and neglect and the girl was a toddler and would be more easily adopted. To their credit however they listened to our objections to this suggestion and bent over backwards to find a suitable adoptive family for the children. I am happy to say that they and their new parents are doing very well.

      It seems to me that your friend’s son may perhaps be unlucky in being in an area infested with left wing “jobsworths” in the Council. He should get himself a good family lawyer and fight them tooth and nail.

  18. Michael Read
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Significantly, you pose the dilemma but shy away from providing a solution.

    No you don’t want to embrace “hard” coercion as in the withdrawal of perverse benefit incentives. Presumably, you don’t go that far because you have qualms about state control and the liberty of the individual.

    But “soft” coercion as in disapproval, education and integration. The dictats of multiculturism and diversity holding sway make that a difficult sell too.

  19. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Indeed there should be a limit on how many children a family can have , especially where state support is required It is also appropriate to contemplate how many children any parents are allowed to rear whether they are in a better financial position or not. We are an overcrowded island and it is unfair to keep procreation up to a level where many suffer due to lack of respect for society as a whole.
    I over the last few years have had much involvement in Child Protection . The problem arises often from social services overstating their peronal opinion over fact. Whilst many children are followed up , there are those , who due to the vigorous over action of the services are made suspects and all efforts are concentrated in the wrong direction .
    Child protection is an area which requires sensitivity to all concerned / The blame culture and suspicous ‘ chinese whisper’ like comments cause more harm than good. Whistle blowing for all children under suspicion is the correct thing to do , however the parties who are involved , should not look around to score points out of the suffering of others. The people in power should only act rapidly where the child is in immediate danger or issues are undeniably of a child harm nature. The recent cases of child abuse have highlighted the need for everyone to be aware , and this is right and proper BUT false leads are a danger to the real child under threat .

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      We are an overcrowded island, but even if all procreation entirely ceased within the island that would not necessarily do anything at all about the overcrowding.

      For the reason I’ve stated in another, as yet unpublished, comment, that there are powerful forces in our society who insist on expansion of the population for their own gain.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 9, 2013 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        And still unpublished, for some reason.

  20. behindthefrogs
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    There is a major problem with child benefits that exists for most benefits. Namely how do you control them without hurting those who really need them.

    Firstly the current system should be unchanged for children below school age. All children at school should receive free school meals and child benefit reduced by about £10 per week to cover the extra cost. This could effectively mean removing child benefit for all except the first child. These free meals should be extended to activity sessions during school holidays. Those currently receiving free school meals as a result of other benefits should have an increase in an appropriate benefit.

    • uanime5
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Firstly child benefit is £20.30 a week for the eldest child and £13.40 a week for each other child. So under your plan it would be reduced to £10.30 and £3.40 per week once children started school.

      Secondly children won’t be able to get these free meals on weekends.

      Thirdly who is going to provide these activities every day during the school holidays?

      • alan jutson
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Permalink


        You say who, who, who,

        Ever heard of Parental responsibility ?

        • uanime5
          Posted April 9, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

          It you’d read behindthefrogs’s plan you’d know that it involves reducing the amount of child benefit the parents get and making schools responsible for feeding children. I was criticising him specifically because it was reducing parental responsibility by making schools responsible for feeding children.

  21. Ernest
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    It’s a very tricky debate, but certainly at present the status- quo is not right.

    I am mid-thirties, educated and on a decent wage, living in London. I cannot afford to buy a house and as such rent in a shared house with my girlfriend and others. I do not believe that I could afford to bring up one child let alone a brood of children. I might add that I do not believe that you have to lavish money on children to make them happy; I come from a family of four who certainly were not spoilt, not swamped in brand names but all grew up happy.

    My perhaps contentious viewpoint: It is wrong that there are people in today’s society who are sponsored by the state to have children. Children who grow up terrorizing neighbourhoods, leeching off the state and doing nothing to recompense the society that has enabled their parents to continue spawning siblings.

    We wonder why the ‘stock’ of this fine country is deteriorating at a rate of knots, and reflectively our aspirations for her future, but it is obvious. Those sections of society with the highest birthrates, care very little for the culture that they are born into and as such are less altruistically minded to put something back. It is a Western phenomena and a worrying one.

  22. Monty
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    The first thing you do when the bath is overflowing, is turn the tap off isn’t it?

    That means we have to look at the next cohort of welfare babies. If they are being born to a mother who has no home, nor income, aside from state benefits, the baby gets put up for adoption. Teen mothers ARE having babies to unlock the housing and benefits system. We can only counter that by making sure the ploy doesn’t work.

    There may indeed be a real problem of housing for these young unemployed girls, and the lads too, because they have no rights against their own deadbeat parents shoving them out of the house as soon as their own child benefit stops. There is an argument for new regulation on social tenancy and housing benefit, to stop the named tenant from evicting resident family members, of whatever age, and offloading them onto the state. If you have raised your youngsters to be unemployable, anti-social, idlers, whatever; it is you and no-one else who should be stuck with the results. On no more money than you were already getting.

    Next step will be to apply that same regime to existing workless families, who should be warned that after a specific date, say 9 months from now, any new babies will be taken and adopted.

    There is a great deal of low level abuse and neglect in these households. It’s routine, and unrelenting. Things I have come across lately, teachers talking about reception class children who aren’t potty trained, who haven’t mastered rudimentary speech, very young kids sent to school with things like conjunctivitis, acute bronchitis, impetigo. Older kids hang around in a bus shelter every night because they are told not to come home before ten at night. Kids with money for the chip shop, that’s their evening meal every night.

    Children who are only brought into the world as a meal ticket, are never going to have the same life chances as those who are wanted for themselves, by parents ready to make sacrifices for them.

    But for heavens sake, make it adoption, and make it swift.

  23. Liz
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    There would probably be public support for cutting off child benefit after 4 children if it were brought in gradually and maybe brought down to 2 later on. A great deal of benefit fraud could be prevented if the most elementary checks were made on claims – birth certificates for child benefit etc. The public would support a more intelligent use of unemployment benefit. Paying £53 to the unemployed under 25 who has never worked,never contributed taxes, and lives at home contributing nothing to the family budget and at the same time paying the same amount to an unemployed middle aged who has always worked and contributed is not regarded as very fair.

  24. Wokingham Mums
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    The roll of state should be to enable parents to support their children, the roll of parents is to only have children they can provide, care for and support, this message has become confused by some. The state needs to clarify its position, having children does not mean the state pays more to support parents.

    The state should pay child benefit for two children only……and only to the primary carer parent, single or married, not working, or (usually part time under 16 hrs) but does not qualify for, or claim, or no one else is claiming on behalf of those children any other child related tax relief, credits or any other tax allowance or benefit.

    Working parents single or married receive existing additional tax incentives, credits and child care allowances for their children as well as child benefit. Stay at home and those below the tax relief threshold , single or married, receive only child benefit.

    All benefits received by an individual not working should be classed as income and taxed at current rates, NI should also be deducted. And only If benefits received are not connected to the children or their care, or anyone else is claiming benefit or allowances for those children and benefits do not exceed tax thresholds, Only then should child benefit payments be made to the primary carer.

    Paying child benefit for two children only, will show the governments commitment to average sized families.

    Working, high or low income parents will receive their rewards via an additional income, child tax credits, allowances and child care vouchers, etc. these could be improved if required.

    The unemployed will receive no financial reward from having children and taxing benefits as income and deducting NI is just fair, we all pay tax and NI.

    This system would save millions and is fairer and cheaper to administer than the current system. Money saved could be used to enable parent via, education, jobs to provide and support their children and this countries future. Sadly, also to pick up the pieces of bad parenting via social services.

    Sorry if a bit chaotic written in a hurry whilst supporting the kids

    • uanime5
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      All benefits received by an individual not working should be classed as income and taxed at current rates, NI should also be deducted.

      How is making the unemployed poorer going to help them? Cutting their housing benefits, child benefits, and job seekers allowance isn’t going to magically make them more employable. You can’t bully people into jobs that don’t exist.

      The unemployed will receive no financial reward from having children and taxing benefits as income and deducting NI is just fair, we all pay tax and NI.

      Given that anyone earning less than £5,564 a year doesn’t pay either NI or income tax. You’ve also ignored that the unemployed pay VAT on things that they buy because it doesn’t fit with your delusions about how terrible the unemployed are.

  25. Kenneth
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    One parting gift Mrs Thatcher may have given us through her passing is a refocusing on todays debate about welfare.

    I hope her values will shine a light of common sense.

    Rest in peace.

  26. Keith Chegwin
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Thatcher dies after a stroke.


  27. Tad Davison
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Good question John, and in the light of recent events, I have another one.

    It is said that a child of a smoker, is more likely to smoke. The child of a drinker, is more likely to drink. And the child of the drug abuser, is more likely to take drugs. So how can we be sure that the parent who keeps on having kids that the state has to provide for, doesn’t pass on those dubious free-and-easy ‘values’ to their offspring?

    The phrase ‘biological imbalance’ was tainted by a discredited ideology seven decades ago, so rather precludes its widespread use now, but if we look closely, that has happened with Britain’s welfare state, and that notorious figure from Derby is a case in point.

    My son wants to buy a house, get married, and have kids of his own, but he’s waiting until he can afford to do so. That is what responsible people do, so by inference, irresponsible people do things differently. They go ahead anyway, secure in the knowledge the state will always provide, so that creates a biological imbalance. I am not suggesting for one minute that kids now born to irresponsible parents, should be denied food, warmth, an education, and a chance in life, but somebody has to grasp the nettle somewhere along the line, and it seems the only weapon in the armoury at the government’s immediate disposal, is to make such irresponsible proliferation socially unacceptable, as indeed the rest of us already knows.

    We can blame the permissive liberal society for the change in values that gave rise to this. The church has rather lost any influence or authority in teaching morality and responsibility. Our schools are no longer bastions of moral and social responsibility either, thanks to their trendy left-wing theories. Social services could finally earn their corn, fill the vacuum, and intervene in a pro-active rather than reactive way, but don’t hold your breath.

    Perhaps a good place for the government to start, would be a cut-off point, and after a certain date, a child conceived by a long-term welfare claimant would no longer be supported by the state. That would provide an incentive. The onus and responsibility for any deprivation would then be put back onto the irresponsible parent, and taken away from the state and thus, the long-suffering tax-payer like my son who is otherwise forced to pay for it, like it or not!

    So somebody has to grasp this nettle, but I fear the present administration has its priorities all wrong. It would seem that it is far easier to target truly disabled people (and I make that distinction, because many have discontinued their claim, thus indicating they perhaps weren’t truly disabled anyway) rather than those who are far less worthy.

    Tad Davison


    • uanime5
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      It is said that a child of a smoker, is more likely to smoke.

      Given how much smoking has declined in recent decades it seems that even children of smokers can change their behaviour.

      We can blame the permissive liberal society for the change in values that gave rise to this.

      If you look back through history you’ll find that unmarried mothers, teenage mothers, and parents having children they can’t afford have always existed. This is not a recent development.

      Perhaps a good place for the government to start, would be a cut-off point, and after a certain date, a child conceived by a long-term welfare claimant would no longer be supported by the state. The onus and responsibility for any deprivation would then be put back onto the irresponsible parent, and taken away from the state and thus, the long-suffering tax-payer like my son who is otherwise forced to pay for it, like it or not!

      So your plan is to cut off benefits to the unemployed with children, jail the unemployed person when the child care deteriorates because they have less money, and put the child into care; all of which will cost the taxpayer more than continuing to give benefits to the unemployed person.

      It’s nothing more than a right wing fantasy to believe that cutting benefits won’t result in the state paying more money to deal with the problem one way or another.

      • Jon Burgess
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

        Uni – what separates this age from any other is that the state actively encourages single parenthood by financially supporting those unmarried mothers who choose to have children without any independent means of support. Surely you understand this? Women in previous ages were free to have children out of wedlock but generally tended not to, as there was no financial support for them if they did.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted April 9, 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink

          Thank you Jon!

          But trying to get these intransigent people to divorce themselves from their socialist indoctrination, is like wading through treacle.

          We can’t hope to change their minds, or even make them see the power of an argument, however well-supported by facts, if the capacity for change doesn’t exist in the first place.



        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 9, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

          For a woman to be left widowed with children to raise on her own was in general regarded as a great misfortune – although rather less so in the wealthier classes – while to have a child before marriage was in general regarded as a great disgrace – although some among the poorer classes dispensed with the formal ceremony.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 9, 2013 at 8:01 am | Permalink

        Uanime5 wrote:

        ‘So your plan is to cut off benefits to the unemployed with children, jail the unemployed person when the child care deteriorates because they have less money, and put the child into care; all of which will cost the taxpayer more than continuing to give benefits to the unemployed person.’

        That’s not what I said at all! Go back and have another read!

        You lefties make me sick! You’re so far removed from reality, you’re hardly worth bothering with!

    • Bazman
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      You assume the child has no free will. My parents have never smoked. From 15 to 33 I caned cigarettes. Like it too, so much so I stopped! Many a teetotal family has an alcoholic offspring. Simple nonsense many other external factors come into play.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 9, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

        I hear what you’re saying Bazman, and I wouldn’t disagree with you. It doesn’t always mean that a child will follow its parent’s example, but you’re another one who needs to read more carefully. I inserted words and phrases that qualified it.


        • Bazman
          Posted April 10, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

          These are your own words.
          Perhaps a good place for the government to start, would be a cut-off point, and after a certain date, a child conceived by a long-term welfare claimant would no longer be supported by the state. That would provide an incentive. The onus and responsibility for any deprivation would then be put back onto the irresponsible parent, and taken away from the state and thus, the long-suffering tax-payer like my son who is otherwise forced to pay for it, like it or not!

          Read it yourself you are so deluded that you think this will stop children by long term welfare claimants most of whom work. Putting the suffering on the child to save your son some cash. By your own argument the parents are irresponsible. Some on the right are so insane as to expect low wage earners to explain why they are a number of low paying jobs and not a single high paying one and show they are looking for one in between these jobs and looking after children or face benefit cuts.Silly fantasists like yourself need putting into their place.

  28. Wokingham Mums
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Also unworking partners and spouses bringing up children should be able to opt to pass over part or all of their tax allowance to working spouses or partners. This would void child benefit payment.

  29. Richard Pitwood
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Why not do as the French do. Household income is assessed and your tax-free allowance is based on the number of people who have to live off your income.

    So a single person might have a tax-free band of £10,000 and a family of 4 might have an allowance of £25,000 or whatever.

    That would be a lot cheaper to administer than the current system where I for example receive in child benefit and tax credits almost exactly what I pay in income tax and National Insurance.

    Low paid workers would be encouraged to work more as they would keep all the extra money they earn instead of it being taxed away and benefits reduced. I, for example only receive £27 in each extra £100 I earn by this system.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink


      Even more simple, calculate benefits on an agreed percentage (say 30-40% of gross earnings) of the persons last working tax years income, as declared by them to HMRC.

      Then you make sure they never get more on Benefits than they did when working.

      Thus no one is able to milk the system.

  30. peter davies
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    This is a hugely difficult issue, the trouble is many of the types in this sector are often driven by left wing idealogy which often makes the problem worse (I have a lot of admiration for IDS putting himself in the firing line but its an issue which needs sorting out). The state as we know where children have been placed in homes has destroyed lives but there are good fostering networks out there.

    I think the best way to tackle this is to draw a line in the sand now for the future generations thus breaking the cycle of large families for people on welfare. Few workimg people have that many children because they know how much they cost and how much work there is.

    A good policy would be to implicitly state now that there is to be a universal cap on benefits to 2 children from now – so people understand that if they have more than 2 they will have to fund them themselves with an accompanied ramped up pursuant of males who have children with multiple females – people like this should be bought to account more vigorously by the CSA if working or if they are on benefits have all their benefits withdrawn.

    This approach would seem tough and would of course get the liberals screaming but in my mind its only the STICK approach will work for many.

    • uanime5
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Removing the benefits of men who have large numbers of children won’t make them any less likely to have children with multiple women. If anything it will make them more likely to have more children because they have nothing to gain by stopping.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        |Not correct again, child benefits are paid only to mothers so in your example the father with multiple parteners would only get child benefit paid into his home if the mother lived with him.

        • uanime5
          Posted April 9, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

          peter davies’s idea involved removing all the benefits of men who had children with multiple females if they were unemployed. So it will make little difference to this man if the mother gets child benefit.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 10, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

            I think what Peter was saying was that the extra child benefit money currently being paid to mothers with more than 2 children by several absent fathers should be taken off the absent fathers wages or benefits and given to the mother rather than the taxapayer.
            Prior knowledge of that will certainly have more than a little effect on the man and his excessive child producing. enthusiasm

      • Monty
        Posted April 9, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        Doesn’t matter who they are having babies with Uanime. If there’s no breadwinner, they won’t be coming home with a baby if it’s taken for adoption. So they won’t be getting a council house, or benefits, to raise that baby.
        Pretty soon, even the most brain dead lass is going to twig that getting pregnant is all cost, and no benefit.

        • Bazman
          Posted April 10, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

          Who is going to adopt all these children forcibly taken from the mothers in your police state. The state? Ain’t going to be cheap and expect a few mothers not to want to go along with this threat. Then what. Another right wing police state fantasist protecting our freedoms. Ram it.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 11, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

            It may come as a surprise to you Baz but the family courts already forcibly order adoptions against the wishes of the parents and the children involved, in this country.
            See the work John Hemming MP and the articles Christopher Booker have done to highlight this.

  31. Wokingham Mums
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Sad news about Margaret Thatcher

  32. iain gill
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    rif you have a lot of kids when it is reasonable to assume you can fund them out of your own resources but then find yourself seriously ill or your industry collapses then yes the state should help

    if you have no resources when you decide to have kids that is different

    but you need to fix the sink estates so all can have a chance

  33. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    There could be a compromise solution to the child benefit problem, which would involve the state providing loans to parents rather than giving outright grants.

    Thus the present system of non-repayable grants would be continued up to and including the n’th child, after which any further state support would be in the form of loans to be repaid by the parents.

    Given that the population replacement level is supposed to be 2.4 children per woman, but increasingly British women are deciding that it is more important to continue with their paid work, aka “careers”, than to have children, but on the other hand a slow decline in the population would be beneficial if we could get our self-seeking elite to agree to that, I would suggest that n should be either 3 or 4.

    There is of course the complication that what would be the n’th child for the woman who bears it might be the m’th child for the man who fathers it, where m was not equal to n and could be much higher, and the system would have to take that into account.

  34. Ben Kelly
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I concur with the posters above who think the state should not be involved wherever possible.

    Child benefit only for the first two children (going forward nine months hence) with those on 50K or more excluded (but household income not single income(this level could be regionalised)). In return for this I expect the tax free allowance to be transferable so that in households where there is whichever legal union the state allows the household income can be 20K before tax is paid. The higher rates of tax starting points would move also.

    Large families not fully funding their own accomodation should be limited to three bedrooms or less (one for each sex if applicable and one for parent). A six month hiatus should apply for those who have lost jobs which would otherwise have paid for larger residences and who need support to tempoarily stay while looking for work.

  35. John Wood
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    It is easy to say ‘The State won’t support children, but very hard to do’. Anyone can have the first child through ignorance or peer pressure (education helps!), so obviously the first child needs to be protected and we need two children (and a bit) on average to keep the population steady, so sociologically the state should give sustenance to two. Should this mean that a single mother with one child ‘jumps the queue’ or should there be an age below which society deems that the young mother should remain with her parent(s)?

    However what happens after that? Do we require women on benefits to have surgical contraception, or the ‘morning after pill’? Isn’t that too much state control? And if we don’t, what do we do to the woman (and child) who has a third (or more)? Should it be compulsory sterilization, fostering/ adoption/ taking into care after the third child is born? Or should Social Services have a LAC (looked after child) review to assess the child’s future and form an opinion on the best course of action. If so will there be targets?

    What about families who have three or more children and, as a result of losing their job, find they are now on benefits? Should they be treated the same – or differently and if so, how do we rate their previous national insurance contributions?

    Finally, of course, there are immigrant families. Do we tell them that they are welcome and we’ll pay for all their children to come here? If so, how would the indigenous population feel, having already had their wages squeezed, to see these families arrive with more benefits paid?

    In principle I believe that parents who are subsisting on benefits should be encouraged not to have more than two children, but the key point is to find a solution that does not benefit the parent if they do have more children, yet does not harm the child thereby born.

  36. Barbara
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    If you make a choice to have children you’re making a life times choice to be responsible for them till they are an adult. If we fall on hard times then we can and should expect the state to help, but not for a lifetime. However, jobs are now not available, therefore expecting people to to find one is difficult in the present circumstances; actively looking is the key, and proving one is doing so should be the norm. Expectation is high from society for help, but there again when the same people see foreign aid at 15 billion, they have a right to expect help, do they not? I agree with them, if we can afford foreign aid at such levels we can afford to help our own. Or is this foreign aid being given a ploy for some people’s ego to pontificate on the world stage at our expense? We have to ask, we are entitled to ask such questions while it goes on.
    Food banks are a good idea, as long as you’re not the person begging in them; the larger majority wouldn’t like to have to do it, but many have to, surviving or starving. Those who propose benefit cuts to the disabled and sick, and the unemployed don’t really comprehend the level misery they suffer, if they did the rhetric would be tempered.
    Compassion for ones fellow man and woman should always come first, but I too understand why we have to curb benefits, its how its being done and to whom that is grating. Take the bedroom tax, someone may have lived for years at the same property and paid their dues, now they are discriminated against because of spare rooms, and because they claim benefits. Surely in a modern world this cannot be right or fair?
    Poverty breeds contempt, anger, and like a bad wine will fester for years to come, while bankers seek even greater bonuses, and get away with the misery they have caused, the poor take the flack; but for how long will they take that flack?
    We had riots before, it could happen again, and the last time it was the poor who rioted against discrimination and poverty, think back to the 80s, it appears nothing has changed, and its the same political party that is imposing the cuts. They are asking again to be in the political wilderness for another 18 years or more.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      er I think you are forgetting the recent riots in the lifetime of this government

  37. nicol sinclair
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    My comments have all disappeared. Have I been moderated off the Planet?

  38. Dennis
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    It is often said that one should only have the number of children one can afford. I disagree – at this juncture one should only have the number of children the biosphere/environment can afford so multibillionaires should have no more than 2.

    A child’s consumption footprint in rich countries is depleting resources rapidly but seemingly who cares for the welfare of future children?

  39. uanime5
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Well one advantage of leaving children with their parents is that it’s usually cheaper than taking them into care.

    As child benefit is £20.30 a week for the eldest child and £13.40 a week for each other child I wouldn’t say that an extra £13.40 a week is going to encourage people to have more children. Though the fact that people with young children can claim benefits but aren’t required to look for work may encourage people to have more children. There’s also the bedroom tax on empty rooms and rooms without enough children in them which may influence some people.

    As child benefit is only reduce if you earn over £50,000 a year there’s almost no circumstances where the loss of child benefit would be greater than the extra income you would get by working.

    It seems that the main cost to the taxpayer for large families is often the rent of a house large enough to provide rooms for all the children. So a limit on the size of the houses you can live in while claiming housing benefit may be more effective than limiting child benefit to 2 or 3 children.

    One other problem is what happens if a woman or couple is unable to care for children, these children are taken into care but the mother gets pregnant again to replace the children that were taken into care. There’s no easy way to fix a situation like this.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 9, 2013 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      If you think that the extra £13.40 a week has such an insignificant effect then presumably you’d agree to it being stopped altogether.

      “One other problem is what happens if a woman or couple is unable to care for children, these children are taken into care but the mother gets pregnant again to replace the children that were taken into care. There’s no easy way to fix a situation like this.”

      There is an easy way, actually, but it would be too brutal for many people to agree to it. (etc ed)

  40. They Work for Us
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    In all these arguments “but it will harm the children if you restrict child benefit” is commonly used as socialist blackmail to prevent effective action being taken to limit state sponsored large families.
    There should be a cap of two children on child benefit, income support etc no exceptions, cultural practices, religion – no exceptions.
    Child benefit should not be paid for any children living abroad.

    • Bazman
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      Prejudice as policy. Good idea.

      • Jon Burgess
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        No Baz, people can ‘choose’ to have as many children as they like, but the state should not have to help to fund them indefinitely. The point here is that the parents have a responsibility to be able to support their own offspring, not expect financial aid from the state that never ends.

        • Bazman
          Posted April 10, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

          You propose to stop this by child neglect is what you are saying.

          • Jon Burgess
            Posted April 11, 2013 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

            No Baz, I’ve not said that at all. Read it again – nothing in there about neglect, only parental responsibility.

        • Bazman
          Posted April 13, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

          Making them skint will somehow make them more responsible? Explain.

  41. Jon
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    The trouble with unlimited benefits and Harriet Harman re affirmed Labours commitment to unlimited benefits on Sunday is that it does not encourage responsible actions.

    People will continue to have numerous children on benefits if they know they get more money for each child. It should be limited or quickly tapered down after say 2 children to a max of 4. If that means a few end up in care then atleast it will prevent the thousands that currently end up in all kinds of trouble from that type of parent that sees them as a means to a cheque.

    Its the same with immigration, unless there is a message that there are limits and eligibility criteria then you just encourage more of the wrong sort to come here instead of other countries. Obviously I’m talking about a specific small category here and not the majority which we welcome or the genuine asylum seeker.

    A limit would be no different for those on benefit thais the case for those not on benefit that have to limit for affordability reasons. Its fair and that is what a society should strive to be, fair to all. Not as Labour do, buy votes for particular sections of society.

  42. Dennis
    Posted April 10, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Many say that we should of course welcome genuine asylum seekers so no need of talking about limiting those numbers.

    Well I could, if it were phyisically possible, import tomorrow many 100s of millions of genuine ones from India, China, Africa Latin America due to their terrible lives of discrimination by their religion, sex orientation, politics, caste etc. etc.

    Would these millions be welcomed?

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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