The Great Benefit Debate

Single Mums – sponging from the state? Or doing the best they can for their chidren given their circumstances?

Where the government is prepared to give financial help to anyone, there will always be people who take advantage. However, I don’t know how anyone thinks they can take advantage by choosing to live off £60 a week when working would get tham a whole lot more, give them something to do and lead to better, more well paid jobs in the future. I myself would choose the latter and so I have never been able to understand the stereotype of drug addicts on the dole to pay for their habit – how much money do they actually have to live on? They must have the most miserable lives.

I have a child. I am a smart person. I did not have my child in order to receive any moneys available, I had my child despite knowing I would probably struggle at times. Currently, I am training to be an accountant and I am receiving help to make that happen, so that I can get a job which is going to be permanent. I myself detest living off benefits. I detest even more the vicious cycle of poverty which it creates. In order to receive any help you are not allowed to have a certian amount of savings, this in itself creates no way out. Another option, particularly for much less skilled people, is to accept a low wage, temporary or part-time position. Thankfully, people like myself can receive help with training so that we can find a way out of this cycle into reasonable jobs and give money back by way of income tax rather than spending our lives having the government pay our way.

Since my son was born, I’ve always received at least a little financial help, which has always been different depending on the circumstances I find myself in. I could live  by my own means, it would be very difficult but doable, but when there is help offered to me in order to give my son a better upbringing, I am more than grateful. So grateful in fact that I whole heartedly plan to give back everything I have received as soon as I find myself in a position to do so. But not to the government. I would like to put the money back into projects designed to help single mums and the hardships they face in their everyday lives. I suppose this is indirectly giving it back to the government, but at least this way I will know that the money is definately doing a whole lot of good.

So, young single mum knocked up at the age of 17, sponging from the state? Or a mother finding herself in difficult circumstances, accepting the little help available in order to build a better future? Discuss. I welcome your comments, be they criticism or praise.

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3 Responses to The Great Benefit Debate

  1. Gappy says:

    Brilliant post. I am in a very similar position to yourself and coincidentally have just written a post on exactly the same subject!

    The stereotype of the single mother as a worthless scrounger makes my blood boil. As you say living on benefits is no picnic, and anyway, what happened to motherhood being an important job in and of itself?

  2. That is an excellent point, we are given this money because we have a job (our children) not because we are lazy and dont want to work. Although I suppose the stereotype exists because there will always be a few who have children simply to fund their council house.

  3. I don’t think you can pigeon hole. There will be many mothers struggling in very difficult circumstances, and finding they don’t have the options they should have to make the choices they would like. However, i do think there are families where there is a cyclic mentality. i.e. their mother was a single parent from an early age and lived on benefits, so that’s what they believe will be their own future. They don’t aspire to anything bigger or better because noone game them the opportunities, or the dreams to do something more. I would imagine in some situations, where there are many children, some form of disability etc etc there probably is a fairly good handout, which makes it even more difficult to choose a different path. But i must stress this will be the minority, and most single mums on benefits are there because they need more support.

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