Letter: Angry lone parents

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Sir: Like many people, I voted Labour in the expectation of a fairer deal for all members of society and now feel a bitter sense of betrayal that some of the poorest families in Britain are to be penalised further by cuts in benefits.

Tony Blair and Harriet Harman have used the argument that many single mothers would like to work. The difficulty of finding reasonably paid employment which also allows for the care of a family has been ignored. Many of the jobs that women do are very low paid, part time and insecure. In such jobs, it is not possible to be financially independent, whether or not subsidised childcare is available.

For women with qualifications and professional experience it is difficult, as a lone parent, to accept that it is in your child's best interests for you to take a full-time job which means you do not spend any time with your six-year-old from a Sunday evening to the following Saturday morning.

I have experienced rejection at interview, solely on the grounds of my having a child, from two employers openly concerned that my role as a mother meant that I could not be as committed to their interests as a working father. In both cases this was before I let them know I am a lone parent.

I resent the implication that caring for a child is some sort of hobby that should be fitted around an apparently more valuable role as an employee. Until the structure of "full-time" working hours starts to take account of the need to bring up a family it is iniquitous to cut benefits and preach to single mothers that they should be out earning for their families.

RACHEL WHITE

Leamington Spa,

Warwickshire

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