Welfare: Tough policy on single mothers

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The Independent Online
Lone mothers should be made to work, with the threat of having their benefits stopped, according to an independent think-tank. A Social Market Foundation report also suggests that the Government should stop cash payments to teenage single mothers if it wants to avoid more children being born outside marriage.

The report is based on a study of welfare reforms in the American state of Wisconsin, where welfare eligibility criteria were tightened and benefits time-limited as an incentive for recipients to look for work, while at the same time resources were ploughed into subsidising child care to make it more practicable for single mothers to go out to work.

Over the last 10 years, the reforms contributed to the number of families on welfare there falling from nearly 100,000 to fewer than 36,000.

The report's author Jean Rogers, director of Wisconsin's welfare programmes, argues that effectively introducing a mandatory work requirement by placing time-limits on benefits is essential if welfare recipients are to turn to the State for financial help as a last resort rather than slipping into a dependency mentality.