Dear @David_Cameron

Dear Mr Cameron,

I’ve had a good idea.  (I should warn you, I’m not into politics, I’m into people.  Sadly these two don’t seem to go together any more, do they?  I do think this might solve some of your problems though.)

So, here it is:

As I’m sure you know, single parents can only manage to keep their families alive by relying on benefits.  I know we’re fortunate to have them, but it’s not enough to live on, it’s only enough for very basic survival.  The Child Support Agency is about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike, and there is currently no legislation in place to force absent parents to support their children in any way.  We can’t get jobs because no employer is prepared to give us 3-4 months off work a year so that we can look after our own children during the school holidays.  Childminders, nurseries and other babysitters are not only extremely expensive – they cost as much as we earn – but they don’t do nearly as good a job as we do.

(It might help to remind you here that most of the dissatisfied youth who were rioting in 2011 were from single parent families, out working during the school holidays to make ends meet, thus leaving their children to roam unsupervised.  I haven’t got the actual figures, but I’m sure you have.)

And we want to work.  It’s horrible not being able to support your own family, its demoralising being so powerless and we’re being forced to set a bad example to our kids.  Believe me, we’re isolated enough without being refused entry to the workplace as well.

Students suffer similar problems.  They too have to sign off from Life.  From the minute they start to study, they not only stop earning a living but also owe you a huge amount of money.  I’m sure they’d like to work some of that off as soon as possible, and support themselves into the bargain, but what employer would only need them 3-4 months of the year?

I’m sure you’re there already, but just in case:

Jobshare!  The single parent could do it during term time, and the student during the holidays.  Your Benefits costs would go down immediately, and your Student Loans would be paid back sooner.  And if you gave employers an incentive to put a scheme like this into place, well, I can’t see why it wouldn’t work.  Good idea, isn’t it?!  I think so.

But then again, I’m not into politics.  I’m into people.  Maybe we should talk to each other?  I’m free all day every day – during term time.

With love and hope, you just never know,

Annabel xx