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DPB kids without named father soar

DPB kids without named father soar

Tuesday 11 Jan 2005

Dr Muriel Newman - Press Releases -Social Welfare

ACT Deputy Leader and Social Services spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today released figures showing the level of state-sanctioned `fatherless' has increased by more than 26 percent under Labour.

The number of children living with a mother who is receiving taxpayer-funded financial support from the Domestic Purposes Benefit but will not name the father has increased from 25,491 on 26 November 1999 to 32,367 at the same time last year.

"This is a massive problem which has escalated under the stewardship of this Government. Every child has the right to know who their father is - it is surely one of our most basic human rights. Yet Labour has not only failed these children, it has now loosened the sanctions for not naming fathers.

"Labour's response to this growing problem of benefit fraud and abuse is to introduce a range of `out clauses' whereby any docking of benefits can now be avoided. This means there's no incentive for a mother to name the father of her child because her benefit will no longer be reduced.

"This Government is very soft on welfare, with taxpayers just expected to foot the everyday bills that these fathers should be paying through child support. Since there are almost no incentives to own up, it's not surprising that we're seeing the numbers of fatherless children increase. There's no accountability and while that's not fair on the taxpayer, having a `run-away dad' is certainly not fair on any child.

"The evidence is unequivocal that sole parenthood, and long-term welfare dependency, are very damaging to children. That is why ACT believes so strongly that sole parents need to be assisted into work," she said.

Dr Newman said ways to encourage sole parents to become breadwinners could include work testing, benefit time limits and support such as childcare or after-school care. Addressing high abatement rates - which make many beneficiaries better off on a benefit and working just a few hours rather than working full-time - would also help.

ENDS


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