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Cammeron on absent fathers

(72 Posts)
LegoStuckinMyhoover Sun 19-Jun-11 10:13:16

"In an article for the Sunday Telegraph to mark Father's Day, he said it "simply isn't acceptable" for mothers to be left to bring up children on their own.

Cameron indicated his determination to introduce tax breaks for married couples ? a Tory general election pledge that appeared to have been dropped by the coalition in the face of Liberal Democrat opposition.

"I want us to recognise marriage in the tax system so as a country we show we value commitment," he wrote.

Before the election, Nick Clegg described Tory proposals to introduce a tax cut of at least £150 for married couples as "patronising drivel that belong in the Edwardian age"."

www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/jun/19/runaway-dads-drink-drivers-cameron

So, they take money from the sick, disabled, children, single parents, the poor, the middle earners-child benefit, tax credits, the schools, the NHS, etc, etc because of ''the deficit'', but happily want tax breaks for married couples?

We all know tax breaks will not make people stay together so, maybe someone run through the math here? Someone tell me this isn't all about ideology.

ExpatAgain Sun 19-Jun-11 10:16:09

well, I agree with the sentiments of this article - men should be involved in bringing up their children..

Isitreally Sun 19-Jun-11 10:42:50

I agree too. It is always staggering to me the number of women who are left penniless by the father of their child/ren whilst he swans off over the horizon and refuses to pay anything on the basis that he wants holidays, a new girlfriend, a decent flat and to run a nice car. Yet the single mothers left living hand to mouth are the ones that society blames.

I am at that stage in my life where unfortunately a lot of my friends have been left or have separated from their partners and are now alone looking after children. Of the dozens of people in that position, I only know of one woman who was O.K financially after it happened and I don't know a single one where the Dad (even if he is still very involved) pays a reasonable amount of money to the mum. And by reasonable I mean more than £20 a week. That includes two cases where the courts have ordered he should pay more - they still don't!

And yet single mums are the scourge of society and blamed for sponging off the state whilst their ex partners swan around, going out most weekends and spending their money totally on themselves. It is actually disgusting that it is so accepted as the norm and that they aren't made to feel totally ashamed for not paying for their kids.

It does anger me that the mothers who are left totally high and dry are in line for all the criticism instead. And on a slightly different note it baffles me how many younger women want to shack up with a bloke who has walked out on his family and is proud of attitude that he doesn't see why he should pay her a penny.

darleneoconnor Sun 19-Jun-11 10:50:44

We should have more draconian punishments for dads who dont pay. Apparently in Canada they get their passports and drivers licences taken off them.

Isitreally Sun 19-Jun-11 10:57:51

Yes - that has been suggested here too but at the moment the problem to any such steps is the fact that a lot of society don't appear to think that running off and never paying your child a moment's attention or a single penny ever again is sort of acceptable. Until that attitude changes, such harsh measures will be considered OTT.

I know people who defend an absent father say things like "well he can't afford to give her any money - all his pay goes on his rent" or "He's not going to give her any money - she'll just spend it on herself not the kids" or "let her new boyfriend pay for them - he's living in the house now"

And as I said, all the men I know or know of who are absent dads get away with paying nothing or a tiny amount and nobody shuns them or thinks they are particularly awful except the perhaps the single mum left behind and her friends. These men certainly seem to get new girlfriends quick enough, their own mothers don't seem to think it's terrible that their grandchildren are penniless and for the friends involved it's as if they've wiped the slate clean, walked away and that chapter is all over with.

Primalscream Sun 19-Jun-11 11:00:10

He's right - children need a father, and one that's around 24/7.

Isitreally Sun 19-Jun-11 11:05:29

Well that must make my children's father pretty crap then. He works 14+ hour days supporting us. Yes he lives here and yes we are happily married but he barely sees the children all week so that we can pay the bills and have food on the table.
A Dad doesn't need to be there 24/7 He needs to behave decently to his children, pay for them, be interested in them, love them and put their needs first. Absent fathers can do that too. It's just most of them choose not to. I just this second found a depressing thread on the whole issue here and again the women who are left are still blamed!

Primalscream Sun 19-Jun-11 11:21:59

Not literally 24/7 - that's not what I meant.
I meant a father who is married to the mother and cares about his family and their future - my dh works 70 hours a week and can go days without seeing his children - but they know he's at work and they know they have a secure family unit.
To add; married couples should get tax breaks - marriage is the best model for a successful society and research proves this. Not that I need it researched - it's common sense and obvious.

paddypoopants Sun 19-Jun-11 11:23:09

How exactly is Cameron proposing to shame these runaway fathers- tax breaks for married couples and more hv. Watch out we don't get crushed what with all those feckless Dads running for hills.
He says "There’s nothing we can do in Whitehall to force fathers to get involved." So all the talk of shaming them and making it like drunk driving but as far as I could see in the article he is planning to do fuck all squared. Unless he could get some volunteers from his Big Society to set up some stocks in every town across the country.
If he really thought it was a problem they should have had some decent proposals to give the mothers left coping some hope.

Snorbs Sun 19-Jun-11 11:24:39

Primalscream, what do you propose should happen when a marriage breaks down?

Isitreally Sun 19-Jun-11 11:33:08

paddy - I think the first step is to get society to realise that what these men do is truly awful and should deserve punishment (most people see abandoning your kids without a penny towards food as somehow part of life nowadays and not especially worthy of shame)

Then the next step is to punish it. Hence the comparison with drink driving. Once it wasn't considered a big deal so cracking down on it would have been seen as harsh and unpopular but now it is an unacceptable thing to do, nobody minds culprits being punished.

Snorbs - you can't stop family breakdowns but you can make more effort to pursue men for the money they must pay and make people aware that few us can afford to run 2 or 3 households therefore if you break up you can't just wash your hands of your old life. Men might have to live quite poorly to keep up payments on old responsibilities and children they'd rather forget about.

Isitreally Sun 19-Jun-11 11:38:38

And to consider that because of the money they are obliged to pay whether taken by force or by threat of punishment, that they can't just forget that they ever fathered two children with a women they now hate and start again with another woman, more kids and another house (or pay for boy's holidays and a new flat or whatever else they spend the money on instead of their first kids)

So many people accept that if you want to move on that you should be able to. But you can't. Not if you're going to take financial responsibilty for the children you already have. How many of us can properly afford to wipe the slate clean on one life whilst still paying for it and walk into a new life instead? Nobody can afford that yet people do it everyday (minus the bit about paying for their first family).

The notion that once you have children with a woman you are tied to her and those children for life no matter how your feelings may change is something society doesn't push hard enough.

paddypoopants Sun 19-Jun-11 11:56:04

I really don't think the vast majority of society sees abandoning your kids with no money as acceptable at all. It is not a new thing, there never was a golden age where all men took responsibility for their children, in fact in the past it was much easier to disappear.
Unfortunately the people that do abandon their kids aren't likely to feel any more shame if we all shout boo hiss at them. There needs to be some sort of concrete proposals as to how to make them take responsibility and the subsequent penalties if they don't.
The CSA was set up so that single parents could try and get financial redress- if it isn't working and by all accounts it isn't then more needs to be done- and not tax breaks for married couples and hv - I can't imagine 2 more useless weapons in the war against absent fathers. It's like trying to scare off a bear while holding a pack of sausages.

paddypoopants Sun 19-Jun-11 12:30:14

And then there's this article in The Guardian - so the services that are there to help these single parents and their kids are being eroded. I really do despair...

www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/jun/18/david-cameron-guru-big-society

Bandwitch Sun 19-Jun-11 12:34:54

It rings hollow when he makes life harder for the single mothers he says are doing a great job. That thing with children's allowance and the way single parents earning over a certain amount would lose money but women earning less but married to a high earner wouldn't lose any of theres, it wasn't fair,.

It is so easy for fathers to dodge paying maintenance. They just move on and either emigrate, or become 'self-employed'. SAFE in the knowledge that their x can't afford a court case.

lubeybooby Sun 19-Jun-11 12:37:25

I agree that isn't acceptable for fathers to just swan off. But a £150 tax break and making the CSA a chargeable service are not going to fix that. Ridiculous.

8rubberduckies Sun 19-Jun-11 12:49:27

hmm I don't think there are going to be many men or women who will stay in an unhappy marriage, or get married under duress, for £150 extra a year (or £2.88 a week). Absent fathers and unmarried couples are completely different issues IMO. As half of a happily unmarried couple, considering the cost of getting married these days how long would it be before we started making a profit after the big day?

Concentrate on making things better for single parents, not trying to persuade couples to get married by chucking them enough pocket money for the Sunday papers every week - now there's a bright idea.

Isitreally Sun 19-Jun-11 12:54:53

I don't think forcinf marriage on people is the answer (and £150 a year isn;t going to do that. If it was £15k a year lpeople would feel forced but £150 a year is no incentive at all)

But I also do think more needs to be done to absolutely force absent fathers, against their will to pay what they should. More garnishing of salaries (taking money from them before they even get their pay packet), more enforcement of court orders, more accountability and more punishment for those who don;t pay

Of course single mothers should not be struggling but it should be seen more the responsibility of the absent man rather then the responsibility of the state to ensure this doesn't happen. It shouldn't be automatically assumed that the state will step in when a man walks out. That man should be chased down at every opportunity and have the money taken out of his pay or his benefits no matter how much he disagrees with it or feels he can't afford it.

Bandwitch Sun 19-Jun-11 12:58:12

If my x is reading this news story he will be thinking that it doesn't apply to him. It applies to 'scumbags'. He doesn't realise that being a scumbag is a mindset.

I wonder if DC has any comprehension of how easy it is to ignore a court order to pay maintenance. I would like to see men who defy court orders to pay maintenance charged and sentenced.

How many fathers out there don't pay a penny maintenance? HOW many of them have been punished in any real sense?

chillistars Sun 19-Jun-11 13:01:36

I agree with it wholeheartedly. Good for him for saying so.

My ex-husband refused to let us stay in the marital home unless I paid him over 150 thousand pounds and paid the mortgage. Therefore we had to leave and now he never sees the children because we are 400 miles away where I could get accommodation with a job.

chillistars Sun 19-Jun-11 13:02:23

The ones that David Cameron is talking to will be the ones who don't give a monkeys.

BooBooGlass Sun 19-Jun-11 13:07:01

If Cameron truly believed this, he'd make sorting out the CSA a priority. But he's going to start charging to use it's 'services' hmm If HMRC can locate a person for tax purposes, then they should damn well be able to do it for child maintenence purposes too. I have an ex who jumps from job to job in a deliberate effort to evade the CSA. The same CSA who keep saying they'll give him 'one more chance' before doing a deduction from earnings order. Fuck that. They have his bank account details. They want to punish and stigmatise? Hit them where it hurts- their wallet.

edam Sun 19-Jun-11 13:07:11

Taking driving licences and passports away would be a great idea. But watch out for threads on here with second wives or partners moaning about how unfair it is. There have been some horrible threads where people bitch about their step-children's mothers, begrudging every penny their husband pays in maintenance. They appear to think it's completely unreasonable for a father to support his existing children and outrageous that the mother of those children doesn't have to submit an itemised receipt for every penny. Oh, and that the father shouldn't have to pay for housing or utility bills because the mother would have to pay for those anyway if she was childless. hmm

Bandwitch Sun 19-Jun-11 13:13:47

Edam+1

Primalscream Sun 19-Jun-11 13:14:08

Snorbs - some people have unrealistic expectations of marriage and expect to be happy all the time - all marriages will have problems because it's hard being perfect - in fact it's impossible. what you do is resolve problems as and when they come up, you stick together and show your children that there's real commitment and stability in their lives. Children need security in order to thrive and be confident. Marriage is good for children and it's good for society.

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