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Tax credits have rewarded mothers for divorcing

New research has shown that the government’s ‘Working Families Tax Credits’ have made getting divorced a profitable action for mothers. The research conducted by Professor Marco Francesconi shows that the divorce rate has risen by over 100% in many different categories in the UK between the years 1999 and 2003.

Prof Francesconi believes that the rise in divorce rates was boosted by the child care money that the government paid to single mothers. He claims that the money, which was intended to help single mothers, has instead generated single parent households as mothers have seized the opportunity to earn a living simple by divorcing their husbands.

It could be around £30, £40 per week extra which the claimant will receive, so at the margin, when you are talking about poor households, you’re talking about significant amounts of money.

In this case, I get an even bigger benefit from the state, because I can receive the tax credit and the childcare component of it and I don’t have to care for a husband who’s not contributing to the welfare of the family.

Labour introduced the Working Families Tax Credit scheme in 1999 when it proudly announced that as many as 1.5 million families would benefit from the extra money. However it does appear that the money has acted as a poison chalice to many marriages.

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