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I think in the UK fatherhood is undervalued

(7 Posts)
Bleh Tue 20-Oct-09 11:36:15

by the government. The reason I say this is because of the article I posted yesterday about maternity leave, and the fact that it is so imbalanced (1 year vs 2 weeks) and then reading this article, which points out that any child benefit usually goes to the mother. I can kind of appreciate the logic, that there are some fathers who would just be feckless and spend it, rather than using it for children, but surely it's unfair on those fathers who want to be involved (like those in the article) to be lumped together with the feckless ones?

Snorbs Tue 20-Oct-09 12:41:46

I think there is a general under-valuing of fatherhood in this country, not just by the government. You see it here sometimes, with some people claiming that mother should automatically assume greater rights over their children than the father regardless of circumstance.

The child benefit issue is a big one. HMRC point-blank refuse to split child benefit between multiple claimants, even though there have been reviews that say that they should. Where a mother and a father have shared residency and the child spends equal time with both parents, child benefit automatically goes to the mother. Moreover, as child benefit is the "gateway" benefit to other child-related tax credits and benefits, if you don't get the child benefit then you're stuffed for any other support.

That being said, I did hear of a dad who had court-ordered shared residency for his daughter taking his local council to court over housing benefit. The council argued that as he didn't get child benefit, his housing benefit shouldn't include provision for a bedroom for his child. He argued that in refusing to accomodate his child, the council were forcing him to breach the shared-res court order. The last I heard was that he won, although I think the council were appealing against it.

Bleh Tue 20-Oct-09 12:58:18

Another way is by reducing benefit if a mother lives with the father. Surely they should be trying to encourage parents to stay together, if feasible, rather than making it an unviable option (finance wise).

scaryteacher Tue 20-Oct-09 13:34:52

The point about child benefit is that if the mum has either given up work or reduced her hours when she goes back to work she will get HRP from having child benefit up to the point at which the youngest is 12. This means she gets credits towards her state pension that she may not have built up otherwise.

If the roles are reversed, and the mum stays full time and the dad reduces his hours, then presumably HRP would apply to him as well.

ElenorRigby Tue 20-Oct-09 19:48:58

I think the silence here is telling.

IME both parents are important. In my experience my Dad was the better parent though despite his work commitments.

ScaryFucker Tue 20-Oct-09 20:05:09

I think parenting is undervalued

Kevlarhead Tue 20-Oct-09 20:16:35

Uh... yeah.

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