Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hain Hits Single Parents

It seems that because the victorious candidate for Labour Party deputy leader enjoys cutting benefits to lone parents, the defeated ones have to get in on the act.

New Work and Pensions Secretary Peter Hain - you know, the 'left wing' bloke - has announced that he is to withdraw benefits from single parents who are not 'actively seeking work' once their youngest child reaches the age of seven. This has shocked even his right-wing mates, who were satisfied with the upcoming reduction in entitlement following the kid's 12th birthday.

May I point out that a seven-year-old child should not have to, for example, walk themselves to and from school unaccompanied, or look after themselves when sick. And a single parent of a seven-year-old (plus maybe older siblings) does not need to 'actively seek work' - she or he already has work, very active and demanding work, looking after those kids.

But, says Brother Hain, we have to get single parents out of poverty, which means getting them into jobs. It's a weird kind of 'anti-poverty' policy that is based on taking people's money away. And a yet weirder one that forces poeple into jobs which, because they must fit around school hours and school holidays, are likely to be low-paid, and which will be even lower paid when the parent has to take unpaid leave to look after sick kids. Perhaps Hain is running a recruitment drive for low-paid Learning Support Assistants or Lunchtime Supervisors.

I look forward to a future speech by another of the Deputy-losers, Alan Johnson (he who is the Education Secretary and to the best of my knowledge was never a Marxist, rather than he who has recently renounced his sinful Marxist youth), bemoaning standards of discipline and behaviour in schools, and blaming the parents for not helping kids with homework, attending parents' evenings, instilling values etc. And conveniently forgetting that one of the reasons they are not doing so is that Peter Hain has made them go out and get menial jobs.

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