Sir: In her comments on Frank Field's suggestion that the lone parent premium should become an extra benefit for couples, Polly Toynbee ("Why single mothers baffle Mr Lilley", 11 October) asks: "Is any man really so much better than none?"
The evidence points to the answer "yes - probably". Research studies are showing that boys, in particular, are more likely to grow up troubled and troublesome lacking the presence and constructive influence of an adult male.
Any new policies made only with an eye to cash cost and paying no regard to knowledge of likely outcomes are at risk not only of wasting that cash but of creating fresh problems and new spending demands. It is not necessary to agree with all of Mr Field's ideas to appreciate that he is seeking not to make this mistake.
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