Bad parents should be ‘called out’ and helped out, inquiry on inequality urges

The Independent 20 October 2014
Bad parents should be taught the basics of bringing up children in a nationwide campaign, a parliamentary inquiry into inequality has recommended.

The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission also called for an end to unpaid internships by 2020, using the law if necessary, and proposed to pay teachers more for working in the country’s most deprived schools. Its State of the Nation report warned that without these changes the UK is at risk of becoming a “permanently divided” nation, with the poorest in society left behind.

The proposals come as the commission warns that far from being the year when child poverty is eradicated, 2020 could mark the end of the first decade in recent history in which it increased.

Politicians have previously been too nervous to intervene on parenting. Former Labour minister, Alan Milburn, argued the issue should not be avoided any longer and that poor parenting should be “called out”.

“The starting point should be parenting,” Mr Milburn said. “Effective parenting has a bigger influence on a child’s life than their wealth, their class or even their education. Most parents do a great job but some do not, and there has been a reluctance to call out bad parenting or to support more parents to develop their parenting skills.”

A National Parenting Campaign would cost an estimated £50m a year, the commission said. This could be funded by restricting tax free childcare to families where one parent earns over £100,000.