Friday, 26 December 2008

Does Welfare Reform Affect Fertility?

The answer is obviously yes but it has taken a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies to get the fact into the newspapers but not so far as I can tell onto the BBC. The Telegraph reports that:
"An academic study claims that an extra 45,000 babies were born to mothers who left school at 16 in the year after the "unprecedented" increase in the value of child benefits introduced by Labour.

Some women told researchers they had stopped using contraception.

The more generous welfare system is being credited with contributing to an increase in the overall UK birth rate, which is now at its highest level since 1974.

The report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies concludes: "We have shown that more generous Government support coincided with an increase in births among the group most affected by the [welfare] reforms.

"We have also provided supporting evidence of a decline in use of contraception among the group affected.

"Our results indicate a sizeable response in childbearing among the group affected by the reform."


For couples who both left school at 16, the reforms meant an increase in benefits of 45 per cent, from £39 a week to £56.76. This is a rise almost twice as much as the handouts for which a couple who went on to sixth form college would be eligible, which increased by 25 per cent to £37.27 a week.

The researchers then looked at fertility rates both before the reforms were announced and after, for a sample of 101,330 women aged between 20 and 45.

They found a large increase in the first year after the benefits were made more generous, particularly among women who had left school as soon as possible.

The results show a 15 per cent increase in the probability of having a baby in the "low education group", equivalent to an extra 45,000 births compared with 670,000 across Britain as a whole."

Staggering isn't it, the IFS just working out that if the Country pays chav children to have babies then they might just do that rather than work? Why should the feckless work in a low paid job when they can just get paid for reproducing? However by the same token why should Gordon Brown's "hard-working" families and indeed hard working singles have to pay for the reproductively irresponsible. Don't forget that Karen Matthews the kidnapper of her own daughter, Shannon, had never worked but because she had seven children – by five different fathers – was able to claim an estimated £286.60 a week in benefits. Maybe someone could explain to the chavvy Child Tax Credits claimers that having a child is not a right and if they cannot afford to keep a child they should use contraception or even abstain from sex.

So do we as a Country want to pay to raise another generation of tax credits junkies or do we want to start to engender some responsibility in the next generation.

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