Linking child benefit to school attendance?


One of our dear leaders is set on a plan to link child benefit to school attendance of the children in question. Minister Denis Naughton believes he has strong support for the plan--although many, including some in government are reportedly balking at the idea (although most likely not for any reasons related to humanity or decency). They probably fear a public backlash or loss in support.

Although the plans are not definite they give an insight into the minds which make up our government.

If these plans were implemented they would see the most hard pressed families across the island pushed even further into immiseration and poverty. These effective cuts to a vital welfare service would dis proportionally hit the poorest in society and those from the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods.
These austerity measures which are somehow meant to encourage children to go to school-when the most likely outcome will be to force economically deprived households to take their children out of school early to join the labour force--or worse still the social consequences of such cuts will lead to a spiral into lifelong poverty and misery for the children involved as parents cant afford to put food on the table, buy school books or school uniforms.

These measures would be a direct attack on working class areas and a form of outright class warfare due to the fact that it is the poorest in society that depend the most on these benefits and also because it is these disadvantaged areas where school attendance can be the lowest for a variety of social and economic reasons.

Areas which are already plagued by substance abuse and economic strife will be further ghettoised as children, through no fault of their own, fall into the traps of the social ills that offer escapes from the daily depression of working class life.
To condemn a generation of working class families and youth to further struggle while a tiny minority hoard extravagant wealth in our society is an outright crime.

As Gregor Kerr, a long-time INTO activist who has recently declared as a candidate for the union's presidency says,

''The number of parents who wilfully keep their pupils away from school is tiny. And actually legislation exists to deal with it, pupils who miss 20 days are reported to the National Education Welfare Board, and parents can end up in court.

However the majority of parents who have issues around getting their children to school need support not punishment. A humane society would extend a hand of friendship and support through Family Support Services, through an expanded Home School Liaison Service etc. What's the point in punishing someone already experiencing difficulties?

The real issue here though is the political thinking behind a proposal like this. Take an issue that's not really an issue (no evidence has been presented that 'truancy' is a major problem) and talk tough about it to show your 'no nonsense' approach. You don't then actually have to address any of the real issues and can play to society's prejudices about the fecklessness of a supposed group of people who are bleeding the system. While of course the real spongers just get on with ripping us off''.