Families Need Fathers have implored Alistair Darling to re-organise the benefit system to account for the amount of time children spend with their fathers.
They argue that it is unfair that one parent, usually the mother, is regarded as the principal carer, receives child benefit and is then passported to the rest of the benefit system including child and working tax credit.
How many dads are we talking about?
How much will it cost to overhaul the system and double the amount of administration and analysis needed?
This Government is notorious for being inefficient and careless with data and the tax credit system has resulted in a huge amount of fraud, contributed to increased employment so that one in five working adults in England now works for the Government. This is massaging our employment figures and disguising the real lack of growth in our economy. The result is an increase in tax, it’s the same old labour chestnut – wealth redistribution rather than wealth creation.
The total failure of the CSA and the Government’s aim to eradicate child poverty is a disgrace and the type of results one would expect from a corrupt third world country, not one that was the first to industrialise in 1746 so should know how to coordinate macro economics by now. Instead it has cost 2 1/2 billion pounds to collect 4 billion and more and more dads are arguing (96% of non payers are dads) that they will not pay for various reasons – non contact with the child being one that is often cited as justification to subject one’s child to poverty.
It is of course totally unfair that in a shared care arrangement the dad is expected to support the mother’s household and is unable to claim any tax credits. I have no faith in this Government being able to adjust the system to one that is fair and instead suspect that a shambolic mess would result with a consequent hike in income tax .
What do I suggest?
Increase tax free pay to £15,000 for all who do not pay higher rate tax and abolish all tax and child tax credits.
Provide child care free up to £200 per week for all who do not pay higher rate tax and who are working full time – if in a couple both must be working and earnings aggregated.
Give power back to the courts to assess child maintenance and abolish CSA and it’s successor CMEC. This system is not foolproof either – sending a non-paying father to prison for six weeks does not help feed a child and some of the worse non-payers had their debt written off as they were unlikely ever to acquire the means to pay it – a bit like going bankrupt.
Encourage the 4 million adults who do not work and live off the rest of us into some form of employment – a society is judged by how it treats its weakest members – some do need our help – but 4 million?
Stop tourists using the National Health System – subject of another post!