Dear David Cameron,
I keep hearing you talk about the importance of families but as someone who has just become a dad for the second time I’m not seeing an awful lot of support. My son was born 3 days ago, this means that if I want to continue earning my full pay this month then tomorrow I need to go back to work. Sure I can take another 2 weeks off, but who can afford to do that when they will soon be losing at least part of their wifes earnings to?
The average UK salary for males is £30,913 which means they take home about £490 a week, statutory paternity pay is £135 a week. So the average man taking the full 2 weeks off will lose £710 in take home pay. A very tough decision for any family to take, let alone in this environment where we are technically in a recession and many people’s jobs are under threat.
But there is no way the lady of the manor could cope on her own with 2 children, not unless I want to come home to find her collapsed of stress and exhaustion. We want her to be successful with breast feeding (which of course your NHS 100% recommends) but how would she be able to rest enough to do that if I wasn’t at home?
I’m fortunate that my work is supportive and I’ve taken 2 weeks holiday to add to a weeks paternity leave. But many aren’t so lucky or even allowed to take so much time off. These first few weeks are so critical for both the new baby and the family as a whole I hate to think of families missing out.
Despite all this I do actually agree with you Dave, family is important, a good family environment can help prevent many issues in later life for children. So what are you going to do to help ME and my family? Let’s not forget that our child benefit payments stop next year due to the stupid rules you’ve applied penalising a family where just one is a higher rate tax payer. Don’t even get me started on child trust funds.
How about a higher tax free rate for new parents? Or a one off cash payment like parents in Australia receive? Or simply at least 2 weeks PAID paternity leave? If you really do value families and believe that broken families are the cause of many problems then this would be a good place to start.
Yours not hopefully,