Wednesday, 12 December 2012
In defence of Leanna Broderick, the single mother whose life was caricatured by the Daily Mail.
(Annual actual cash received by Leanne Broderick per year)
If you use twitter, insert the name Leanna Broderick into the discover # section, just so that you can observe the level of abuse she faced yesterday as a direct consequence of this Daily Mail article (here). In a "how the cash adds up" part of the article the Daily Mail do very little to allay the misunderstanding that somehow the Single Mother in question receives £15,500 "cash" a year. She does not. And what's more the amount she does receive puts her below the poverty line. In actual money received into her bank account Leanna receives £8,904 a year. This is nearly £2,000 less cash than a Minimum Wage Job would pay a year. And with that money she has to feed, clothe and heat herself and her two children. Given that the average fuel bill is more than £1,300 a year, it leaves Leanne with £7 per person a day to provide food, clothing and transport for the family of three.
So how do we account for the difference? Well, the Daily Mail neglect to tell you that Leanna's Child Benefit entitlement would still exist even if she was in work. The payment is not a reward for her not working, it is for the children's well being. Even if Leanne took a Minimum Wage job then she would likely keep the vast chunk of her Child Tax Credit, or at least have it made up with Working Tax Credit. The actual amount Leanna is receiving for being a single mother according to the Daily Mail is just £2,160. The Housing Benefit & Council Tax she receives are not expendable by any means other than that for which they are designated, and the amount she is receiving for her 2 bed flat in Croydon is much cheaper that the average house price in London. Leanna's home is £3,600 cheaper than the national average in rent charged a year, and clearly a below average abode. Leanne's rent is £444 a month but the average for Croydon is £840 (proof here).
If you do one last thing today, check the photograph on the Daily Mail article (here). It appears to be one of the most loving and happiest family photographs one could wish to see. I have very little doubt that these two young children are being cared for by a loving mother. What the Daily Mail are loathe to tell you is that to put these two children into childcare would cost more than £10,000 a year, and that for just 25 hours care a week. They will also not tell you that Sure Start has been cut by 27% in Leanne's area (Croydon) since the Tories came to power (here).
I came from a single parent family, and was raised on benefits. I can assure the hate mob that reacted to the Daily Mail article yesterday that life was not easy. All of my mother's children grew up to pay back in thousands of pounds of taxes, any child benefits we received while we were children. Looking at the family photo of Leanna Broderick, I have very little doubt that the love & warmth she provides to her children will yield fantastic results for society, and the state, when they mature into young adults.