In response to Kathy Gyngell: The State’s free-riding families lay bare feminist myths, Groan wrote

This is most accurate. I suspect eventually the need to borrow to finance government support for this mess will cause a future Chancellor to have to return to this. 

On my estate the corrosive nature of this state of affairs is very evident. Not mentioned in this piece is the incentive to lie. Most of the “lone parents” locally are not lone at all. However to admit to such would be to lose benefits, particularly housing benefit. 

It’s important to remember some benefits are “passports” to a string of other benefits and “free” allowances. So for a cohabiting couple to be honest about this loses them more than the immediately obvious income. 

I could recount many funny tales from a friend in the benefits agency checking claims – the ways people pretend there isn’t a man living there when she calls. 

Another important factor frequently missed is that most of the men in these hidden relationships are tradesmen or on variable hours contracts etc. So their income can be very variable and linked to the ups and downs of their industries so not so secure as a steady guaranteed benefit. 

So pragmatically it is best to maintain access to benefits even if a good job/contract/overtime gives good income for a time. My friends admittedly anecdotal evidence is that at least 50 per cent of people on the case load are not single/lone at all. It cannot be good to so incentivise dishonesty.

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