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Benefits...following on from unfit parents thread...

(295 Posts)
anais Tue 08-Jul-03 22:33:36

Well, who wants to start?

pie Tue 08-Jul-03 22:35:00

Gosh this sounds scarey

anais Tue 08-Jul-03 22:36:15

Not at all pie, I just thought it deserved a thread to itself...

Tinker Tue 08-Jul-03 23:20:32

Always been intrigued by Vibration White Finger.

judetheobscure Tue 08-Jul-03 23:47:11

anais - have pasted this from the other thread

I too think it is morally wrong to deliberately bring children into the world if you don't have the finances to support them. Why *should* other people subsidise your children? How about setting a maximum of 2 children if you're on long term unemployment benefits; any children after that to be adopted. (Ducks beneath parapet).

I also believe that mothers (or fathers)from low-income families should be paid to stay at home and look after their children.

Re taxation: Where does this so-called super-rich category start? And have you not heard that the more you tax the top end of the population the less revenue comes in. Some members of the Labour and LibDem parties seem to have forgotten this too

anais Tue 08-Jul-03 23:48:31

Right Jude, I assume that should the worst happen and you end up on benefit then you would be happy for them to take away your children?

Tinker Tue 08-Jul-03 23:51:44

Aaargh, just posted this on the other one:

judetheobscure - and if you have more than 2 children and then fall on hard times, your children should be taken away to be adopted also?

I don't know whether that is true about there being a reduction in revenue should you not tax the top end but I think it sends a message that the rich should put their hands in their pockets and help out a bit! Plus, what's the alternative - don't tax them so much cos they might take their ball home?

bossykate Wed 09-Jul-03 07:08:53

tinker, jto is right! people who earn over say £100k or £150k per annum are a tiny minority of the taxpaying population, imposing a higher rate of tax on these individuals doesn't earn *that* much for the exchequer and last time it was tried caused a "brain drain" to the US among other places. btw, if you're earning in this category you *are* paying more tax, remember!

bossykate Wed 09-Jul-03 07:10:08

not ready to join the how many children should you be allowed if you are a feckless, dole scrounging, economic migrant, learning disabled.... or whatever...

SoupDragon Wed 09-Jul-03 07:31:32

I'm not sure I'm quite ready to join this one but there is a clear difference between planning to have lots of children when you can't afford them and having lots of children you *can* afford and then falling on hard times. Having children who you clearly want other people to pay for is different from ending up needing other people to pay for. I'm not sure of the suggestion that if a couple have more than 2 children and they're on benefits (& can't afford them) the "excess" should be adopted. What happens if you have triplets? Or twins second time round? Maybe you should only get child benefit and other child related benefits for 2 children, whoever you are and whatever you earn.

Children are, in many ways, a luxury. If we hadn't been able to afford them, we wouldn't have had 2. We can't afford 2 Carribbean holidays a year so we don't have them

Jimjams Wed 09-Jul-03 07:44:41

ooh hot topic! Get ready to be burned.

Actually I think the problem here is that the whole situation is very complex. We've all seen people on tv with however many kids moaning that they're not given this that or the other whilst not seeming to understand that reaaly things should go both ways- ie you should contribute to society in some way (and I don't just mean financially).

However that picture isn't representative of people on benefits, and it doesn't reflect the complexity of people's lives or describe how they ended up in that situation in the first place. For example receive disability benefits for my son- my husband is a higher rate tax payer (just). Now if where to leave me I would through no fault of my ownbe a single mum- completely on (more) benefits. I would be unable to work because of the care needed for ds1. Like anais I may well home educate in the future. This wouldn't be my first choice, but would be because there wasn't a suitable school for my son. NOw say I was in that position being a drain on taxpayers money. The truth is my son would be more likely to emerge an adult capable of living an independent life (and therefore he would no longer be a "drain" on society). And so the argument goes round. It's too complicated.

This was why I introduced the asylum seekers argument in the unfit parents thread. the situations are complex, and most definitely not black and white.

So what do we want Nazi state, or a social structure that helps people less fortunate. It would be good if people in general could take more responsibility- ie no more scroungers, but also it would be good if the super rich were willing to pay their fair share of tax. I do think the middle incomers have been hit hard in the last few years (and that in itself breeds resentment- almost certainly unfairly- asylum seekers being an example).

SoupDragon Wed 09-Jul-03 07:52:53

JimJams, if you split from your husband, you'd fall into the "needing others to pay" rather than the "expecting others to pay" category. This discussion is never going to be black and white, there are so many shades of grey it's unbelievable!

I don't have a problem with *genuine* asylum seekers. Whouldn't you take the chance to escape an oppressive society/physical punishment etc if you had to?

Jimjams Wed 09-Jul-03 07:56:31

Oh absolutely soupdragon - and genuine asylum seekers should be given every chance to start contributing to society as soons as possible (I know a few people who fall into this category- thye have given far more the the UK than they have received). But where do genuine asylum seekers become economic migrants, and should we be supporting them? (I don't know myself- can see both sides of the argument).

I do take you point about expecting and needing, but the trouble is if you tried to legislate against expecting you would cause lots of problems because there are so many shades of grey.

SoupDragon Wed 09-Jul-03 08:22:32

I'm not for one moment suggesting that this would work in practice

Purely on the children front, how about routinely paying child related benefits for only 2 children plus one year only for any extra children only for parents on benefits (can be paid if you fall into the "suddenly needing" category).

I don't really have any knowledge of benefits at all other than a short 6 month period one summer when I was made redundant so I'm going to bow out of this debate. It's a tricky one. I hate the thought of our taxes funding someone else's children but, on the other hand, I wouldn't want to not help those who need it. It all boils down to relying on people's sense of responsibility and some people just don't have it. It's that minority that cause the ill feeling.

Jimjams Wed 09-Jul-03 08:27:50

I don't hate the thought of taxes funding someone elses children at all. Children are a clean slate and could well grow up to give far more back to society. I hate the thought of taxes funding someone's trip to the pub every day with no attempt made to find work, but I'm sure there are many shades of grey in that as well, and there are probably cases where I could see why that was happening as well.

prufrock Wed 09-Jul-03 08:57:44

Soupdragon has put it so well. When the welfare system was first developed, Churchill described it as "not pulling the drowning man to the shore, but throwing him a lifebelt" But it seems to have turned into more of a luxury yacht for some people. It's meant to be there to help the unfortunate. So Jimjams - you and your son would be included, because you didn't deliberately set out to have an autistic child. (BTW -he is gorgeous) But it shouldn't be there for the teenage single mother to have as many kids as she wants, knowing taht the state will provide for her. Somebody said in another thread that having children is an inbuilt need and a right - it's noty - it's a privalege, and one that we shoudl all have to work for.

Jimjams Wed 09-Jul-03 09:18:48

ooh no I said having a baby was an inbuilt biological need, but NOT a right. But I also said it wasn't anyone else's right to decide who should and shouldn't have children (mainly because I think that's unworkable and quickly becomes Nazi).

I can see your point about the luxury yacht- but surely given the measly amount provided by benefits these people are being fraudulent? And of course benefit fraud should be stopped. It's tricky becuase we can all think of indivisual cases of people we think should and shouldn't be allowed to have children. I guess we have to look at somewhere like China and ask do we want that here? Surely the answer has to be no.

Maybe we need to teach a sense ofresponsibility- no idea how to do that though......

Jimjams Wed 09-Jul-03 09:24:51

Thanks for saying he's gorgeous btw That always makes my day. You've reminded me I need to remove that photo soon- dh would go ape if he knew I'd posted it (gets funny about that kind of thing- suppose I can see why )

Tinker Wed 09-Jul-03 09:30:29

Children are a privilege we all have to work for? So the poor shouldn't breed?

I'm very happy for my taxes to support children.

There seems to be some misapprehension that benefits are actually generous.

So post may seem abrupt, am not at home, need to be brief.

SoupDragon Wed 09-Jul-03 09:49:22

I do not believe that the poor shouldn't breed but they should certainly give some consideration to how many children they can afford to have. Yes, children are a clean slate, but the sad fact is that they get caught in a vicious cycle of the life their parents lead - and this goes for rich families too. I am obviously talking about a minority here and not putting a blanket character over all parents on benefits but the parents need to invest in their children's future in order to break the cycle and make them achieve their full potential. If they are not prepared to do this, they are more likely to end up with children in the same situation. By having, say, one child that they can afford, they can invest everything in that one child and ensure his future is a little bit brighter and full of opportunity than theirs. If they had 3 or 4, the investment would be spread more thinly and make it more likely (NB likely, not guaranteed) that the cycle will continue.

SoupDragon Wed 09-Jul-03 09:52:01

And yes, Tinker, children ARE a privilege we all have to work for. I don't mean we have to work hard to earn £X before we can have them. Children don't come free, they need money and, more importantly, time invested in them to allow them to reach their full potential.

princesspeahead Wed 09-Jul-03 09:54:07

everyone here seems to be wanting to punish the single teenage mother who has 4 children she can't afford. what would actually happen by refusing/reducing benefits would be that you would punish the 4 children who didn't ask to be born to such a feckless mother, and start off with that disadvantage anyway. by reducing benefits you will just seriously increase child poverty, and that is no good for society from a moral point of view let alone a social point of view (poorer educated population, higher crime, poorer health etc).

And taxing the "superrich" (I think someone said this should be more than £150k earners?!) is a very simplistic and naive argument that no-one believes will work (but some politicians think may win votes). For a start, the point of a percentage based higher tax rate is that the rich DO pay more taxes. Secondly, the "superrich" (and I do mean super rich, not £150k pa which is simply not) will always have the ability to vote with their feet and live/become tax resident elsewhere or put in place some clever scheme to lower their tax bill. It is called killing the golden goose as has been proven many times.
Lets not forget that the "rich" not only contribute a lot in taxes, but also in jobs both in their businesses if they have them and also domestically. They also spend a lot of what they earn a good proportion of which goes to the VAT man and thus the treasury. A little bit of realism here might go a long way.

oliveoil Wed 09-Jul-03 10:03:46

I read once that 'benefits were provided as a safety net but some use them as a hammock'....sounds about right for my neck of the woods.

After paying into the system for nearly 15 years, when I fell on hard(ish) times, I got bog all to help me through so maybe a bit bitter. Too many grey areas in this discussion.

Jimjams Wed 09-Jul-03 10:19:02

hmmm I think the reality between earning 35K and 150K is a bit different though. Current tax regime hits those earning 35k far more than those earning 150k. Personally I would feel superrich if our family income was 150k

sed Wed 09-Jul-03 10:58:28

I'd feel rich it was 35k !!

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