Pay Single Parents to Stay Home with Their Children, Says Tsar; Cash Plan Would Finance an Alternative to a Job

Daily Mail (London), September 20, 2006 | Go to article overview

Pay Single Parents to Stay Home with Their Children, Says Tsar; Cash Plan Would Finance an Alternative to a Job


Byline: GRAHAM GRANT

SINGLE parents should be paid to stay at home and look after their children, Scotland's children's tsar declared yesterday.

Professor Kathleen Marshall believes they are 'stigmatised' for wanting to raise their children rather than work.

She claimed that in encouraging them to find employment, ministers are harming children's welfare by reducing the time they spend with their parents.

Instead, single parents should be paid to stay at home so that parenthood would be treated like any other form of employment.

But critics have attacked the call - pointing out that single mothers already qualify for a range of state-funded benefits.

They claim the stay-at-home payments would be seen as discriminating against middleclass couples who sacrifice family time to meet financial demands, but would be funding the extra cash for single parents through taxes.

The current benefits system has been widely criticised for favouring single mothers over families where both parents have to work to pay soaring taxes and bills.

Professor Marshall, the [pounds sterling]72,000a-year Scottish Commissioner for Children, made the call for extra funds for lone parents - an issue outwith the Scottish Executive's remit - in an interview yesterday.

She said: 'The time parents have to spend with their children is becoming ever smaller because of work. As for single mothers of young children, there should be the option of being supported at home by the state if need be, rather than them going back to work.' A spokesman for Professor Marshall added that she felt single mothers were ' stigmatised' because they came under pressure to find employment. …

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