‘Feckless fathers’ should be made to work - Monmouth MP
10:41am Wednesday 9th October 2013 in News
MONMOUTH MP David Davies has told the Argus he stands by everything he said in a television documentary about the bedroom tax and said “feckless fathers should be grabbed by the scruff of the neck and made to work”.
The comments followed the broadcast of BBC Wales' Week in Week Out programme last night, which was filmed in Blaenavon and featured the Conservative MP.
The programme went behind the scenes with Bron Afon Housing Association, which has 509 properties in Blaenavon but only 23 one-bedroom flats.
Mr Davies, who heads a committee of MPs investigating the effect of the bedroom tax in Wales, spoke to teenage couple Amy Evans, 17, and her partner Lloyd Mulry for the programme.
He told the Argus: "These guys have got a flat supplied to them, the guy should be out working.
"When I was 17, I had a girlfriend, I didn't have a taxpayer-funded flat supplied to me.
"If I wanted to see her it was a park bench in Belle Vue Park."
Mr Davies said the money paying for housing benefit is not coming from the government, it is coming from "their neighbours and people who pay taxes".
He said: "It is like knocking on their neighbour's houses asking for money.
"This government isn't there to supply flats to teenagers who want to set up shop with each other. It's there to provide a safety net."
The MP said: "You will never hear me talking about single mums because they have the hard work of bringing up children, but I've got a thing to say about feckless fathers. They seem to think they can go around impregnating women then leaving the state to pay for them. They should be grabbed by the scruff of the neck and made to work."
Mr Davies said he supported the government's stance on cutting housing benefits for those people deemed to have spare rooms, which has meant a real-terms cut for recipients of 14 per cent for one spare room and 25 per cent for two.
"In many ways I don't think (the reforms) go far enough," he said.
Referring to his advice to Mr Mulry to go to London to find work, Mr Davies said: "I'm only talking from experience, I can't go into a Starbucks or a Costa in London without meeting someone from Eastern Europe. One of my best mates is a Polish lorry driver, he came here with nothing and has managed to build a really good life for himself here.
"I accept a 59-year-old isn't going to do that, but the 17-year-old, he wasn't tied to this area, why does he stay in a place where there isn't as much work and opportunities?
"You are not going to get great big companies and hotels dropping down out of the skies and setting up in Blaenau Gwent," he said.
"We can't make a company out of the air and supply everyone with a job. Go to places where there are jobs, once you've got a job it's easier to get another one.
"I could go back in 20 years and find people still waiting. I think there are jobs available, they may not be well paid, they may be part time - it's a case of what you're willing to do."
The MP said that in 1990 he worked as a glass collector for Ritzy's nightclub in Newport before delivering brake parts with his father driving vans for five years.
"There is no point people saying 'you have never got your hands dirty' - I got my hands dirty every day for five years," said Mr Davies.
"They are wasting their time tweeting 'what a Tory boy', I worked a lot harder than a lot of these guys. I'm not sorry for what I've said. I'm never going to be a minister so I'll say what I like."
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