Hain’s bonus measure, single parenthood and child poverty in the UK

Here’s one in the positive column for Peter Hain. Last week in the Daily Telegraph he proposed sharing the big bonuses of people working in the City of London. This week, it seems the Sunday Telegraph readers agree with him that such bonuses are a sign of greed. So what’s behind it? Last week’s UNICEF Report into Child Welfare, which placed the UK bottom of a basket of 21 developed countries may have been one influence.The report gave a fair amount of weighting to the number of single parent families as a marker for deprivation:

Britain was last and the U.S. second from the bottom in the category focusing on relationships, based on the percentage of children who lived in single-parent homes or with stepparents, as well as the percentage that ate the main meal of the day with their families several times per week. That category also counted the proportion of children who said they had “kind” or “helpful” relationships with other children.

The report’s authors cautioned that the focus on single-parent families “may seem unfair and insensitive” and noted that many children do well with one parent. “But at the statistical level there is evidence to associate growing up in single-parent families with greater risk to well-being – including a greater risk of dropping out of school, of leaving home early, poorer health, low skills and of low pay,” the report said.

On average, 80 percent of the children in the countries surveyed live with both parents. There were wide variations, however, from more than 90 percent in Greece and Italy to less than 70 percent in Britain and 60 percent in the U.S., where 16 percent of adolescents lived with stepfamilies.

1. Netherlands
2. Sweden
3. Denmark
4. Finland
5. Spain
6. Switzerland
7. Norway
8. Italy
9. Ireland
10. Belgium
11. Germany
12. Canada
13. Greece
14. Poland
15. Czech Republic
16. France
17. Portugal
18. Austria
19. Hungary
20. United States
21. United Kingdom