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On 7 Oct 2010 at 11:38am shock jock wrote:
Todays hot topic is : Should we discourage those on benefits or low incomes from having children they cannot support themselves? I'd love to hear your opinion!
On 7 Oct 2010 at 1:05pm Katie Airhead wrote:
yes, we should be encouraging people with above average IQs to breed, not thick, idle benefit scrourgers
On 7 Oct 2010 at 1:15pm Down and Out wrote:
Define 'discourage' in this context.
On 7 Oct 2010 at 1:34pm shock jock wrote:
not sure how to define it but possibly by issuing something other than cash as a benefit. I am not necessarily advocating it either,just interested in hearing views either way.
On 7 Oct 2010 at 2:06pm 'ere be monsters wrote:
As usual subjects like this are pussy footed around. Basically it gets everyone's goat when you read about families with 10 kids getting bloody great houses to live in as if it's a right. Multi fathered hoards that get no support from their idle parents. Mothers who make a living off being a mum and keep knocking them out when they know they haven't got to do any more than lie on their backs to increase their income. Families collecting £30-£40k a year in benefits of one kind or another.
They are the ones that need sorting.
On 7 Oct 2010 at 2:29pm Clifford wrote:
It's funny how this always comes up when it's obvious involuntary unemployment is about to rise and we're being softened up to see the unemployed get a kicking. I remember the same thing happening in the 1980s.
On 7 Oct 2010 at 2:59pm MC wrote:
The world population reached unsustainable levels quite some time ago and still the population increases at a staggering rate. People in general need to be dissuaded from having large families. Ideally it would become socially unacceptable to give birth to more more than two children before it becomes necessary to impose population control through regulation.

As the reality of population control looms so the pressure to have a discussion about the regulation of the human gene pool increases... just one of the reasons that the human race prefers to stick its collective head in the sand and ignore the issue (apart from China, that is).
On 7 Oct 2010 at 3:03pm jrsussex wrote:
Having children in a relationship should not be dictated by the level of income, however the level of income should dictate how many children a responsible couple will have. if they are on a low-income then having four or five (or more) is obviously ridiculous. Not least in that it indicates that those in that situation, who do have multiple children, clearly expect the taxpayer to fund the cost of their children.
On 7 Oct 2010 at 3:06pm 'ere be monsters wrote:
Exactly MC. Why is it when the exploding population is discussed the only solution to the problem is seen as how are we going to feed these masses. Condoms and vasectomies that's how. Now we're back to another topic.
On 7 Oct 2010 at 3:08pm Grunge wrote:
Clifford, the kind of misuse of public money of which EBM writes has been going on for some while, and everyone seems too politically correct to grab the subject by the throat.
The fact is that people have been doing what EBM comments on and, not only is it not fair to us, it is not fair to them; they need to get some self-respect through working and supporting their families. It's no good banging your drum about the unemployed. Some people will be unemployed through no fault of their own, and everything should be done to help them.
However, others are unemployed through choice, and have been bringing up generations of children programmed to do exactly the same, and it has got to stop. That's not kicking the unemployed, it's kicking the deliberately idle, and high time too.
On 7 Oct 2010 at 3:12pm Down and Out wrote:
We can all talk about ideal outcomes, the question is what procedures are followed. Suppose you withdraw benefits from, say, third children, would that actually stop poor people having a third child? Or would it mean more children, through no fault of their own, being raised in poverty? That would probably end up costing society more than benefits payments in the long run.

Or should the state force abortion if pregnant women fail a means test? That doesn't sound particularly civilised to me.
On 7 Oct 2010 at 4:03pm Clifford wrote:
Grunge - once they start this business they don't draw any distinction between the genuine unemployed and the scroungers. The purpose of mass unemployment is to drive down wages and conditions.
On 7 Oct 2010 at 4:35pm not from around here wrote:
Always a tricky one this but not as complex as people make out. People who are not working should be able to have a child and receive benefits if they are unable to find work - notice I say 'unable' to find work.
There should be no further benefits paid for children subsequently born while not working.
It's not rocket science - if you have extra kids without the means of support - there will be financial consequences for both the mother (or parents in the rare case that there are two) and also the child - but that's a choice the mother must make if she is careless enough to become pregnant while unable to support herself.
Would it mean that people would go on to have extra children despite financial hardship? Yes, in some cases but in many cases, particularly the large-family-on-benefit types it would be a serious dis-incentive to have further children without the means to support them. So yes, in my view it WOULD get rid of the problem of people having children to boost their benefits.
The vast majority of us hate people who deliberately scrounge so this should be a popular measure really.
On 7 Oct 2010 at 4:59pm Brixtonbelle wrote:
Well for all Tories talk of withdrawing the power of the state in people's lives, they don't seem to mind proposing what in my mind could be the first step to the state completely dictating people's lives.
The English have always had a strong individual streak and if you start talking about limiting family sizes for people on low incomes (remember lots of people on low incomes are working and get tax credits), then in my mind it's a slippery slop down to China's one child policy and then onto forced abortions etc, a complete infringement of people's long fought for freedoms and people would not stand for it.
How much would one have to earn to be allowed to have children ?? It is nonsense to imply (as some twit did on R4) that children with richer parents are somehow better than poor kids. There are plenty of examples of kids from large single parent families (I'm one of them) who don't suffer through having less material goods in their lives and can go on to being thoughtful succesful and moral members of society. The Daily Mail type examples of massive houses and 10 kids are few and far between, not the norm.
On 7 Oct 2010 at 5:44pm not from around here wrote:
Brixtonbelle, I'm not saying that the state should 'stop' people from having children and neither are the tories - they can have as many as they like but just should not expect the state to PAY for them. A bit different from your version of 'not allowed' to have children.
I'm from a fairly low income background (or modest at least) myself and would absolutely agree with you that kids happiness has little to do with material wealth - which only reinforces the position that the state not paying for additional children is the right thing to do and unlikely to 'damage' the children of poor families - as presumably those families that choose to have extra children without state funding REALLY would want those children.
However, there is a whole issue related to how well children might do academically which can be related to their background. Those who are high earners are more likely to be well educated and are therefore far more likely to encourage their own children to 'do well' and be aspirational.
I was brought up mostly by my Mum after a divorce and had little opportunity to take part in expensive activities and neither was I encouraged to go on to further education - but I think that is my parents business and not the states.
On 7 Oct 2010 at 6:23pm Peter Byron wrote:
Anyone under 50yrs should be made to work, and these lot with bad backs having sprogs galore in their 20's claiming incapacity for bad backs is a disgrace, it will bankrupt the country, get them working I say!
On 7 Oct 2010 at 7:48pm Honey wrote:
If you spend all day shagging it must be hard to get a job.
On 7 Oct 2010 at 7:53pm Peter wrote:
Too true honey, if only it applied to moi. Best Peter
On 7 Oct 2010 at 7:55pm Chillie123 wrote:
Katie Airhead are u a Nazi...do u know what happened in China? Grow up!
On 7 Oct 2010 at 7:56pm Peter wrote:
China worry about Google. No more to be said. Peter
On 7 Oct 2010 at 8:22pm Hugh Genics wrote:
Nice one Katie. X
On 7 Oct 2010 at 8:27pm Peter Byron wrote:
I agree Hugh, I love Katie Price, what a gal, dumped by a wannabe fame hungry hasbeen aussie and still carrys on with life, my son loves her for other reasons!! Best Peter
On 8 Oct 2010 at 8:16am Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
If steps were taken to penalise families on benefits with lots of kids, what would happen to people who had large families that they COULD afford and then suffered a dramatic change of circumstances, eg death, disability, bankruptcy, that forced them on to benefits?
It would hardly be fair to force them into penury because of a bit of bad luck, if their decision to have 6 kids was perfectly reasonable when they made it.
I also think it's a bit ambitious when there is still no 100% effective, safe, side effect-free method of contraception.
On 8 Oct 2010 at 10:11am Brixtonbelle wrote:
Not from around here - I basically agree with much of what you say, but I think the Tory policy is going to be very hard to implement - how do the state distinguish between the deserving and undeserving poor ?, a point that ACT takes up. I've just watched Jeremy Hunt on newsnight and so far the policy doesn't seem to be that well thought out. The guy on R4 that I heard was far more extreme and talking about stopping people having children.
On 8 Oct 2010 at 11:12am MC wrote:
Vasectomy? Pretty near 100%.

Penalising people on benefits is obviously wrong, although I'd be entirely in favour of a sliding scale of benefits per child (i.e. first child 100%, 2nd 70% and so on.

I think emphasis needs to be put on population control as a whole (ideally on a planetary scale). As England is a particularly densely populated area we should start here nonetheless, deciding on an optimum population for our land mass and then initiating some sort of public awareness/persuasion campaign. Ideally it would become socially unacceptable to have more than two children. The tax system could easily be used to discourage large families.

Immigration should be addressed too, aiming to reach a stage where emigration continually exceeded immigration (maybe at first those that wanted very large families could be encouraged to leave?).

This should constitute a long term commitment over generations and far exceed the length of one government term.

It is necessary to address population control before we run out of natural resources, destroy the natural biological balance of our planet, experience a grain/power famine or fundamental ecological disaster, or manage to wipe out all other life on the planet (or at least what we have left). It's a huge problem that we have successfully continued to ignore. Our race has stuck its collective head well into the sand, which is why the solution now requires radical, far-reaching and painful measures. We have left it far too late to pussy foot around.
On 8 Oct 2010 at 11:52am shock jock wrote:
some of your fears are thankfully unjustified. In fact our birthrate is well below replacement as is most of Europe and Asia ( U.N figures) We are a small country but most experts expect our population to peak around 70 million and then decline sharply. The biggest problem we face in the near future is many,many old poor people being supported by a small proportion of tax paying workers. As our pension system is a ponzi scheme there may be a rebellion by younger workers against paying for benefits they will not themselves receive.
On 8 Oct 2010 at 12:46pm MC wrote:
In the UK, population is projected to continue rising - from 61 million (mid-2008), to pass 70 million in 2029 and reach 77 million in 2050. That's more than another two Londons.**
* United Nations Population Division, World Population Prospects 2008 Revision, 11 March 2009. ** Mid-2008 based Principal Population Projection, ONS, 21 October 2009 .

The UK is already grossly over-populated and according the horses mouths quoted above still set to rise at an increasingly unsustainable rate. There is only one thing you are remotely correct about and that is that the population of some other countries is rising at an even faster rate.

We cannot afford to be complacent.
On 8 Oct 2010 at 2:31pm shock jock wrote:
The increase is in old people due to increase in longevity. The birthrate is the figure to focus on, not the population.
On 8 Oct 2010 at 3:28pm MC wrote:
You are wrong I'm afraid. Look, here's some more ONS stats for you:

In 2009 the provisional Total Fertility Rate (TFR) for the UK was 1.94 children per woman. This represents a small decrease in UK fertility compared with 2008, when the TFR reached 1.96 children per woman. However fertility remains at a high level ? apart from 2008, the last time UK fertility was higher than in 2009 was in 1973.

And here is some more information:

"A UK population policy of balanced (zero net) migration and voluntary reduction in family size might stabilize our numbers at below 70 million
by 2050."

This is still a huge number of people on a very little land mass and not enough to protect other species and our environment.

England is currently the fifth most densely populated country in the world (excluding small-city and island states) with 52 million people packed into 398 per square kilometres, more crowded than Japan. If growth at the 2008-09 rate of 0.7 per cent a year continues there'd be 115 million humans in the UK before the turn of the century.

The amount of land available to each UK inhabitant (to provide for our ecological needs and to absorb our species waste products) has shrunk to roughly a tenth of what was available in 1750. Each UK inhabitant currently has less than one acre each to absorb the environmental impacts of all our consumption and this space is shrinking every year.

This is the reason that many rivers are already no better than sewage outlets and that wildlife that was once prevalent is becoming very hard to find in all but the wildest and most remote areas of our poor little land mass.
On 8 Oct 2010 at 3:47pm Down and Out wrote:
"England is currently the fifth most densely populated country in the UK"

Er, behind Scotland, Wales, NI and Gibraltar? Or is it the Isle of Man?
On 8 Oct 2010 at 4:36pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I don't think vasectomy really counts, MC, as you couldn't have more kids if you got rich. And it has side effects - it bloody hurts, acording to a mte of mine.
On 8 Oct 2010 at 5:00pm shock jock wrote:
Egg on face.
Ok MC,you are right! I was looking at older figures. But just as 2005 figures looked like long term decline the 2010 figure could be the end of a mini trend as baby boomer women are coming to the end of their fertility and there is a reduction in the number of women of child bearing age.
Have you got a figure for an ideal population?
On 8 Oct 2010 at 6:37pm MC wrote:
> Have you got a figure for an ideal population?
Three - me, my wife and son.

@ Down and Out
Sorry, my typo. That's supposed to read "England is currently the fifth most densely populated country in the World"

> ACT.
It wasn't a totally serious comment
On 8 Oct 2010 at 9:41pm jrsussex wrote:
AC-T - I don't think it hurts with todays medical procedures. I had it about 25 years ago on the NHS, used to hurt your thumbs in those days, the bricks that is.
On 9 Oct 2010 at 12:20am brixtonbelle wrote:
MC - you said "Penalising people on benefits is obviously wrong, although I'd be entirely in favour of a sliding scale of benefits per child (i.e. first child 100%, 2nd 70% and so on."
That already happens with child benefit although I can't say what sliding scale they use.
On 9 Oct 2010 at 1:51pm queequeg wrote:
The trouble with any benefit at all is that it's implementation modifies societal behaviour. Undoubtedly this effect has led to an increase in unwelcome behaviour such as single motherhood and large families on benefits.
Therefore all benefits are corrosive and should be abolished.
The corollary of this would have to be guaranteed employment.
A good example of this is to be found in New Zealand where, in the 1920's they used unemployed workers to plant grass plants (no jokes about this please) as seeds would not work in the north of the North Island which at the time was desert. Self respect and the work ethic was maintained, benefit culture prevented and a vast area of desert turned into productive farm land.
I know we have no deserts, at least not literally, but I am sure forum posters can exercise their ingenuity and come up with worthwhile schemes that our own benefit recipients would be able to tackle.
I note with interest Ken Clarke's plan for a similar plan for prisoners. That new prisons be built near factories where inmates can work at full time employment, pay back for the harm they have done and save a pot for their release. The scheme has my full support.
On 9 Oct 2010 at 6:03pm Brixtonbelle wrote:
Hmm -so single motherhood and large families didn't exist before the welfare state ? I don't thin so Queequeg.
Read some social history of the last 500 years and find out what really happens when society abdicates responsibility for the poor and needy and leaves it to the concerned (or not so concerned) wealthy philanthropists.
On 9 Oct 2010 at 6:48pm queequeg wrote:
Not what I said at all, and I am not at all unsympathetic of the two named circumstances. Nor did I say that the state should abdicate responsibility.
What I did mean is that it is not in the interest of those two groups to be given handouts without responsibility, they lose self respect and the work ethic and in time the ability to carry out any work at all.
What I said was that the state should guarantee employment. Therefore if private enterprise fails to provide full employment then the state should employ and take up the slack, utilising the spare labour capacity, perhaps to carry out worthwhile tasks that would not otherwise be viable.
One advantage of this system would be that the requirement to attend a place of work would entirely prevent the fraud of people claiming benefit while working.
On 9 Oct 2010 at 7:08pm Clifford wrote:
queequeg wrote: 'The corollary of this would have to be guaranteed employment.'
Will you tell us how capitalism can guarantee employment?
On 9 Oct 2010 at 7:15pm queequeg wrote:
The State is able to guarantee employment by disbursing all benefit payments as wages for employment.
On 9 Oct 2010 at 11:25pm Gradgrind wrote:
Simon Schama writes that a few hundred years ago in Holland they had a place called "the drowning room". Anyone who persistently refused to work was placed in there and the room would gradually fill with water. There was a pump, and if the miscreant wished to save himself, he had to pump hard to keep out the water. Thus, they hoped, he would learn the lesson that it is necessary to work if one wants to live. Apparently one man was particularly stubborn, and refused to pump.......
Just a thought.
On 10 Oct 2010 at 12:05pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
One of the reasons people in third world countries have large families is so that the parents have plenty of children to support them when they're old and infirm.
With people now having to work way beyond the age when bits start to wear out before they can get a pension, cuts in disability benefits, and pensions being worth next to naff-all, I think people will need to have bigger families anyway.
On 10 Oct 2010 at 3:01pm brixtonbelle wrote:
interesting point, ACT. I wonder if Gideon and pals have thought of this in their slash and burn benefits policy....

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I'm grateful for Nevillman starting this discussion and being so generous as to refer back to me. My delay in saying anything... more
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