This government seems to dislike single parents so much, and their plan of using tax breaks for married couples to somehow prevent them... well, quite frankly, it's a bit stupid isn't it. How is a tax break amounting to up to £3.80 a week supposed to encourage people to get married, and then stay married? Surely we could all just stay single, and drink one less pint of beer a week. Or maybe a couple fewer lattes.
I thought I would give our government some suggestions of other things they could do, in order to avoid the social inconvenience of single parents.
- Take the money you would spend on tax breaks for married couples, and put it into schools. Use it to teach children self-esteem and self-worth. Teach them how to communicate with each other effectively. This will help to prevent people getting into unhealthy relationships which they then end up leaving, kids in tow. If someone has a stronger sense of self-worth and self-esteem, they are less likely to sleep with someone for the wrong reasons.
- Take the money you would spend on tax breaks for married couples, and put it into mental health care. Help people to deal with their issues and problems. Make it easier to ask for help, and easier to access that help. Support people in recovery so that they don't end up damaging other people with their problems, or seeking refuge from their demons in a damaging relationship. If you're not in a shitty relationship, you're not likely to end up having to leave it and become a single parent.
- Take the money you would spend on tax breaks for married couples, and put it into building a robust benefits system with the resources to assess individual cases, weed out trouble makers and skivers, and to genuinely provide help and support for those who need it. Make it so that benefits are seen - by everyone, even Daily Mail readers - as a genuine way of helping people to help themselves. Spend money on more individual, one-to-one guidance and assessment so that people are not left to languish on ridiculous help-to-work schemes that don't work.
- Take the money you would spend on tax breaks for married couples, and put it into helping single parents to fend for themselves. Help them to get into gainful employment by giving them access to courses and childcare - so that they are not such social pariahs with awful and largely undeserved reputations.
Since becoming a single parent, I have come to realise two things:
- Working single parents work fucking hard. We get up early, do everything involved in taking care of the child/children, do a day's work and then come home to prepare dinner, do bath and bed time, wash up, do housework and prepare for the same all over again the next day.
- A great deal of people resent us for the pitiful help we do receive. Single parents seem to have a reputation for being lazy, feckless and workshy. If we work, we're considered unreliable because we're the only ones available to do emergency pick-ups from nursery/school for poorly kids. We often don't have anyone else to stay home with poorly children, so end up taking weeks at a time off work.
It would be great (and ultimately very surprising) if this government were to use their collective time in office to help single parents to help themselves, and to maybe gain a better reputation in the process.