Wednesday, May 17, 2017

"1,300,000 fewer years on main benefits"

That's the prognosis since benefit reforms were implemented in 2012.

It's good that the ministry is actually measuring dependency in year terms. Mere numbers dependent hid too much. Reliance on the dole is, on average, much shorter-lived than reliance on the DPB (now Sole Parent Support).

From the Minister, this is hugely important:

“Almost half of children who grow up in a benefit dependent household end up on a benefit before the age of 23, which is why we’ve invested millions in providing intensive support and training as well as help with study and childcare so sole parents can go into work.

“With the number of sole parents on a benefit decreasing 32 per cent since 2012 and nearly 60,000 fewer children living in benefit dependent households than in 2011, it’s clear this investment is helping break the cycle of intergenerational welfare dependence.

In their last incumbency Labour never got close to addressing or moving on this central problem.

“Those who have been on a benefit before the age of 20 make up about 75 per cent of current liability, with teen parents having some of the highest lifetime costs of any group on welfare.

This is what I was banging on about 13-14 years ago when addressing select committees and Labour sneered, holding that the average single parent was only ever dependent for 3 and a half  years. That was factually wrong. But worse, Labour used images that would conjure up public sympathy to divert from the chronic inter-generational problem, while their supporters painted me as a beneficiary-bashing pariah.

I confess I haven't the energy or inclination to trawl through the detail of the latest actuarial report. It might exaggerate or be overly optimistic. But the crux is that the government (or THIS government) now understands the problem.