Page last updated at 14:05 GMT, Monday, 5 March 2007

Parents' views on benefits reforms

A report backed by the government has suggested major changes to the welfare system to help more people get into work.

Private firms and charities could have a bigger role, and making single parents look for work once their children turn 12 - instead of 16 at present - has been put forward.

Two single parents give their differing views of the proposed reforms.


I would rather work than go on income support. I have tried going on benefits once before and I would never do it again. It's too degrading.

I've got a system of support with my children from my family and I've got a good babysitter who looks after my children, so I'm quite happy to work but because I work you can't get the help you need.

I'm willing to go out there to work to provide for my kids - if you are capable of working you should work
Clare Mawer

There are people who are single parents, who don't work, who get everything in terms of benefits thrown at them. It should be the other way round.

I'm willing to go out there to work to provide for my kids. I think if you are capable of working you should work. Lots of people don't work because they get more on benefits.

My youngest child is eight months, and four of my five children are under 12, and yet I still go out to work.


I'm a single parent and a mature student with one 12-year-old at home but I don't get benefits.

I get a student loan and grant and child tax credit, but that's obviously not what the government are targeting at the moment.

I don't think it's been thought through properly. My children went to summer classes and after-school classes but they all stop at 12 years old.

It demonises certain groups again so the government can cut the budget without too much of a fear
Kyla Manners

It's assumed children can look after themselves at 12 but that's not always the case. It could cause problems unless the support is put in place first and that's not going to happen because of the resources involved.

These changes which are being proposed wouldn't be appropriate for a lot of people, for example people who are on benefits and home educating their children - the state wouldn't provide.

It's just cost-cutting. It demonises certain groups again so the government can cut the budget without too much of a fear but I don't think the government has thought through the long-term consequences for the children.

The stereotype of single parents is young girls who get pregnant to get a council house but other people have different circumstances and a system should be there to help people.

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