Society: Benefit system breaking up families

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Children of separated parents are missing out on regular contact with their fathers because of housing problems, it was revealed yesterday. The homeless charity, Shelter, says hundreds of fathers end up homeless or in cramped conditions after a relationship breakdown.

Many are unable to have their children to stay because there is not enough room or the conditions are so poor, both of which can lead to a breakdown in the relationship between the single father and their children, it claims. The charity says the problems arise because local councils often fail to recognise a single father's responsibility for accommodating his children. Chris Holmes, director of Shelter, said: "It is appalling that many children's valuable time with their fathers is being disrupted by housing problems."