Government welfare policies promote poverty and inequality

Extra support for lone parents encourages self-defeating behaviour

A new IEA study* shows that New Labour’s welfare policies are actually promoting poverty. By targeting lone parents for additional support, the government has encouraged self-defeating behaviour that increases long-term hardship and family breakdown. Lone parent families are far less likely to leave poverty at any point in their lives compared with couple families.

The research, based on data from both the US and the UK, demonstrates that measures to help lone parents disadvantage children in couple families. For example, in the UK, it has been calculated that, as a result of the Brown/Blair government’s tax and benefit reforms, by 2005 a two-child couple needed to work 74 hours a week at the minimum wage to clear the government’s pov