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to think issues like maintenance, the cost of living in 21st century Britain and housing costs should be addressed first rather than making marriage more attractive in tax breaks?

(27 Posts)
kim147 Sat 13-Jul-13 07:50:23

Just been looking at the Gingerbread statistics for single parents.

www.gingerbread.org.uk/content/365/Statistics

No surprise that finances and arrears of bills are the biggest issues. The cost of just surviving in 21st century Britain is horribly expensive, especially when looking after a child and childcare is taken into account.

Doing that on a part time salary and no maintenance must be incredibly hard.

But instead of trying to address these real issues which affect child outcomes in life, the Government is obsessed by a tax break.

50% of married couples separate by the time a child is 16. Will a tax break help or should Government work on ways to ease the financial pressures on single parents trying to survive the costs of society?

IfNotNowThenWhen Sat 13-Jul-13 18:09:15

I agree with everything you say Dahlen, except about the HB cuts.
We need rent control in the UK, not cuts in housing benefit.
Our LA has cut the HB twice. Rents, at least of family houses, have not gone down at all, and the competition for the few affordable houses is fierce.
I don't see why married people should get tax breaks. After all, they already each pay 50% of what I pay for everything-energy, rent, childcare, water, media services.
I was discussing council tax with a married friend and she said I was lucky to get the 25 % discount.
Hmm, yes, but I still pay on my own more than her share of their council tax.

ConferencePear Sat 13-Jul-13 15:57:43

Cloudsandtrees it does indeed take two to make a baby. However, if you are a regular on these boards you will know that, thanks to the uselessness of the CSA, many single mothers are owed thousands of pounds by spiteful absent parents.
Some people here seem to think that working single parents get some extra state help - they don't. They also lack a partner to take up the slack if their child/ren is/are ill and they simply cannot be ill themselves.

ninani Sat 13-Jul-13 15:11:04

But didn't you know, a married couple has the potential to have 2 incomes thus paying for a much bigger mortgage even if it is for a 1 bedroom flat. I think you already need two incomes to buy a 1 bedroom property in the south. It's for feeding the banks with more interest.

CloudsAndTrees Sat 13-Jul-13 15:03:18

Good question! Forcing people to pay for the children they create should be the first thing that is looked at, irrespective of marital status.

Dahlen Sat 13-Jul-13 14:58:32

Clouds I agree, but if the state feels it has the right to encourage marriage through measures then it clearly feels it has a right to legislate on matters such as how people live their lives. Why then aren't measures being put into place to make parents who separate live up to their responsibilities? Instead, the CSA is being slowly abolished and single parents told to suck it up.

CloudsAndTrees Sat 13-Jul-13 13:32:43

Yes, single people should be able to survive in society without state support, but single people are not the same as single parents. There's a reason it takes two people to make a baby, and if single parents are left struggling, then that is the fault of one of the parents, not the state.

kim147 Sat 13-Jul-13 13:22:37

Bearing in mind that no one exits the womb married and it is not compulsory to get married, it is to be expected that many people will spend some part of their lives single. THerefore, IMO, it should be possible for someone working FT - even on NMW - to be able to afford to live to a reasonable standard without falling into debt, not necessarily easily or in the lap of luxury, but certainly adequately and without state help. If that's not possible without top-up benefits at a time when the rich are getting steadily richer, there is something morally bankrupt about our society IMO.

YY Dahlen Single people should be able to survive in a society without requiring state support. The cost of living in this country is ridiculous.

ThreeMusketeers Sat 13-Jul-13 13:15:58

YABU, they can look at more than one thing at once.

^ ^ ^

That.

EBearhug Sat 13-Jul-13 13:06:00

Single parents already get a lot of help, why not look at married couples to treat people equally?

Giving a marriage tax break isn't treating people the same as single parents (not all marriages have children, and not all parents are married.)

I can understand giving parents a taxbreak, but I really don't see why just getting married deserves one. Most people I know who are married and currently childless are way better off financially than couples with children, or single adults whether they have children or not (though of course there will be exceptions everywhere.) Giving a tax break on marriage might make some people decide to get married, when actually they (and their potential children) would be better off if they didn't. I know people who have been in a stable relationship for many years (nearly 20 in one case) and have children but for whatever reason, have never actually married. I don't think they provide their children with any less of a stable and loving home than a married couple would - indeed, knowing how some marriages end, they're providing a lot better environment.

It is just social engineering and a waste of time, but it means we're talking about this rather than all the other stuff the government's doing (and not doing), so it's also a successful diversion tactic.

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Sat 13-Jul-13 12:41:47

Many rush into having them when the relationship isnt even that old.
afford children and if they could still afford them should something go wrong.
If we took more personal responisility and stopped blaming everyone else

You're right! My DS (PR, adoption) from my DH's first relationship should be punished! He should have known her issues and known his DS would be severely disabled. hmm Well, he/we sure learnt his/our lesson! What right does DS to a normal life? After all, his mother and DF truly fucked up!

These arguments, however true (not arguing that yeah, in some/hell even a lot they may be true) remind me all too uncomfortably of most religions view of accidental pregnancies. My son deserves as normal a life we and the taxpayer can give him. No, sorry. That's unreasonable. He wasn't planned, he's a punishment from Gove God we deserve, remember that!!
hmmconfusedenvy>boak>

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 13-Jul-13 12:10:22

Agrees with happymummyofone and with mumandboys. But there is nothing wrong with encouraging people to think ahead and to plan especially when the statistics indicate that co-habitees are more likely to split than marrieds and that the outcomes for children whose parents remain together are better than for those whose don't.

I'm sorry mumandboys - he let you down and you shouldn't have to struggle at the expense of the children.

alemci Sat 13-Jul-13 12:08:57

we did uses to get married mans allowance which was taken off dh to me as tax credits which dwindled to nothing.

would welcome a tax break and even if 50% of couples do split they could benefit.

re single parents -it shouldnt be them and us situation I agree but maybe this would encourage some commitment from some fathers.

Dahlen Sat 13-Jul-13 12:04:01

I agree that single parents get a lot of help, but it's important to remember that the financial assistance barely lifts them out of poverty (in fact 60% of single parents are thought to live in poverty). Also, that help is only available to the very poorest. IF you work on more than NMW, for example, the tax credit help you receive falls sharply as your income rises even fractionally above that amount.

Bearing in mind that no one exits the womb married and it is not compulsory to get married, it is to be expected that many people will spend some part of their lives single. THerefore, IMO, it should be possible for someone working FT - even on NMW - to be able to afford to live to a reasonable standard without falling into debt, not necessarily easily or in the lap of luxury, but certainly adequately and without state help. If that's not possible without top-up benefits at a time when the rich are getting steadily richer, there is something morally bankrupt about our society IMO.

So then bring children into the mix. It remains the norm that most children are born into the context of a relationship. If one person can live comfortably without state help on NMW, it should be the case that two people on NMW sharing living costs under one roof should be able to pay for their own childcare. They cannot. Nor can they manage with only one person working and the other providing childcare, no matter how frugally they live, without state help.

Despite the misery the HB cap will bring to many people's lives, longer term it may prove to be a good thing. Housing costs in this country simply must come down if we are ever going to achieve a situation where the majority of people can live without state benefits. Only 1 in 8 claims for HB are made by the unemployed.

mumandboys123 Sat 13-Jul-13 11:56:58

goodness me, happymummyofone, how smug are you?

single parents get exactly the same 'help' as married couples. No single parent I know - myself included - chooses to work part-time. We are all full-timers. I could afford my children when I had them. I am not sure my now ex husband's first thoughts on getting his willy out with another woman would have been 'oh, I'm risking my tax status. Better not...'. Nor should I be 'punished' for choices that were outwith my control.

should I be worse off as a single parent with sole care and sole financial responsibility for my children than a two parent family with way more flexibility regarding their working decisions because my ex husband decided the grass was greener?

And to be clear, we were together 2 years before marrying and didn't have children until 4 years into our marriage. We didn't marry young and were both educated and well travelled when we met. We are both professionals and were financially independent when we met. This is pretty much par for the course in the circles I mix in - we are not the 'benefit scrounging scum' the Daily Mail would have you believe all single mothers are.

HappyMummyOfOne Sat 13-Jul-13 11:36:18

Single parents already get a lot of help, why not look at married couples to treat people equally?

If you choose to work part time, then you can hardly moan that costs arent met by the salary. Having children, working few hours are all choices people make as an adult. Many dont even get a seconds thought as to if they can afford children and if they could still afford them should something go wrong. Many rush into having them when the relationship isnt even that old.

If we took more personal responisility and stopped blaming everyone else then perhaps things would be very different.

Szeli Sat 13-Jul-13 11:20:30

I'm not sure looking solely at single-parent households is right. I personally would be a damn sight better off financially if my OH moved out.

The system needs aligning with the tax system or affordable housing/living wage should be looked at.

Easier said than done tho!

CloudsAndTrees Sat 13-Jul-13 09:49:17

There is no reason why they can't look at both.

If 50% of married couples split by the time a child is 16, then 50% don't spilt. Both should be taken into account, being married doesn't mean you don't struggle financially. The increase in the personal earnings allowance can benefit both single and married parents.

I agree that maintenance is a massive issue that needs to be looked at though, the state needs to have a lot more power to ensure that parents pay for their children.

LondonMan Sat 13-Jul-13 09:31:43

Sorry, I may have been off-topic, was referring to government alleged plans for married couples tax-break.

LondonMan Sat 13-Jul-13 09:30:16

The tax system is based on seeing people as individuals, the proposal is a bodge that makes it more complicated, it actually makes me quite angry that politicians are even considering this.

A better reform would be one that aligns benefits system with the tax system, by dealing with individuals rather than households. That would remove the incentive that currently exists for single-adult households to exist. (I'm not talking about less money being spent overall, in fact it may well be more.)

The amount being talked about is insignificant anyway. Paltry amounts being handed out in complex ways should be confined to the benefits system, which is used to it, not added to the tax system.

foslady Sat 13-Jul-13 09:14:24

Totally agree kim. My priorities are to keep a roof over our heads, keep it warm and waterproof and feed definitely my dd and then me. It's very rare I go out and day trips out with dd tend to be of the picnic and park type. I didn't plan this life, it got thrust upon me and I have been trying desperately ever since to drag myself out of it.

And it's fucking hard and I feel demeaned by the fact despite working I rely on the state. Typing this has actually made me start to cry as I realise how shit my life has turned out to be when I did everything I could to try and avoid this. This isn't a lifestyle choice many like me live.

kim147 Sat 13-Jul-13 08:51:41

"The root trouble is that a typical expected lifestyle is unaffordable for on typical incomes."

I think having a house, paying bills and having a decent diet is unaffordable for many people - unless they have the support of the State.

What happened to society that even these basic needs are difficult to meet without State support?

noisytoys Sat 13-Jul-13 08:49:03

It would be useful for us as I only work 12 hours a week. Not fair on families who either both work full time or single parent families though

Whothefuckfarted Sat 13-Jul-13 08:41:13

Minimum wage should be higher. We need a living wage in this country. cuntry

AuntieStella Sat 13-Jul-13 08:30:51

The marriage tax break doesn't seem to be what it's cracked up to be either. It appears to be transfer of unused personal allowance - which is no use at all if both spouses are using theirs already.

The root trouble is that a typical expected lifestyle is unaffordable for on typical incomes. The binge of debt bubble did a great deal of harm. But, like like a popped bubble, it can't be reinflated.

ecclesvet Sat 13-Jul-13 08:30:26

YABU, they can look at more than one thing at once.

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