Letter: Single parents

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Sir: As a long-time single parent, it is with both fear and anger that I read of recommendations by this or that "think-tank" to "get tough on single mothers" and prevent us from "slipping into a dependency mentality" (report 29 September).

Do people not understand that life for single parents is already tough and that a mother, or, indeed any parent or guardian "with care", is already doing a job? We are no more "dependent" on society than any other worker. We often cannot manage a second job.

Who are the people who make such recommendations? None of them, I believe, a mother who has had to survive for years on end on the breadline because the day nurseries have closed down, the co-parent takes little or no responsibility and the available work is so badly paid the money will not stretch to pay for the rent, the food, the clothes and the child-minding.

Single parents are being scapegoated for failings in the market economy. Technology has put millions out of work. Factories have moved to the other side of the world where people more desperate than us will work for less. To "solve" the problem by imposing ever-increasing hardships upon a section of the population who are already struggling is nastiness in the extreme.

It is we mothers, single or otherwise, who are mostly responsible for creating the next generation of adults and helping them become healthy and civilised human beings. Such measures are an attack upon the very foundations of our society.

N M SNELL

Lancaster

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