Please don’t worry I am not turning into a politician, to be honest I couldn’t cope with the expense claims. I know I wrote about over population recently but this story has a different source, honest. One of the government’s smoke and mirror tactics to tackle unemployment is apprenticeships. I have ranted before over how these are not apprenticeships; they are a rebirth of the old youth training scheme. I won’t say too much more about these modern abortions of a great idea other than to say that I can call a fiat uno a sports car, it doesn’t make it so.
Apparently by taking children out of college and placing them in work base training we will reduce unemployment. That would probably be great if they were apprentice marine engineers or electronics designers but they are offering apprenticeships in customer service and ‘health and beauty’. While little Tracy is filing nails for £20 a day she can now be considered to be in an apprenticeship so everyone is happy. Well according to that great social barometer FaceBook that is not the case.
There is apparently another issue with this clever relocation of statistics. When your child leaves school, now at 18, and enters an apprenticeship they leave full-time education. This simple description is ‘worth’ money to the resident parent. Whilst a child is in full-time education the parent with whom they reside is able to claim welfare, when they leave fulltime education this ceases. So we are met with outcry from mothers because their ‘income’ will be reduced if their child decides on an apprenticeship rather than a college course. My first concern with this is that the term ‘income’ seems to have become interchangeable with the term ‘earnings’. You cannot ‘earn’ welfare it is simply impossible, you can earn wages and you may have earned a pension. You can, very easily, earn a punch in the face but you cannot earn welfare payments. The money that the state gives you because you have children is not a reward for your fertility.
It is a simple change of meaning but the consequences are huge. When Tracy needs a new car she simply needs to pop down to the local late night bar and secure the appropriate investment. More disturbing is that in the last few weeks I have seen responses that say “they will just have to live with their dads”. What does this tell our children, that they are actually part of an investment portfolio? So while their stock value is good they stay with mum generating income but when the market turns and their ‘value’ drops they are pushed out to dad. How far will this commercialism of children go, will we see the ability to trade children on the stock exchange in the future. Like the financial crash will we see broken women at soup kitchens muttering “I was leveraged in 6-year-old blonde when the market turned” The publishers will have to add a line to Whitney Houston’s ‘Children are our future’ warning that the value of children can go down as well as up.
Buying a house or shares are commercial transactions that can be profitable. Having children can bring a great deal to your life but it is not supposed to be commercially profitable. Just because it is the one area of production that the country is still operating in does not make it profitable. It will be interesting in years to come when children are engaged in the growth industry of counselling and are asking dad ‘if you loved me why were you not there’. Perhaps the answer of ‘it was only while you were profitable for mummy’ will explain a lot….
Note from the lawyers: The author speaks only from experience and observation; in no way does he infer that this is always the case. Some cases may be better or worse than this and the author makes no guarantee that you relationship will perform in line with expectations.