Gove suggests parents of truant children end child benefits | Michael Gove

Michael Gove has suggested that parents who fail to ensure their children attend school regularly could have their child benefit payments stopped.

Gove has argued that such sentences would help restore “a moral responsibility”. He had previously attempted to introduce the measure while education secretary during the coalition government in 2010, but was blocked by then-Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. It later prompted David Cameron to include it in the Conservative manifesto for the 2015 election.

On Tuesday, at an event in central London by thinktank Onward to discuss the future of the Conservative party, he told the audience: “We need to return, particularly post-Covid, to an absolutely rigorous focus on schooling, supporting of the children. be at school

“It is often the case that it is delinquent or persistent absence which leads to involvement in anti-social behaviour. So one of the ideas we floated in the coalition years, which the Lib Dems rejected, is the idea that if children are persistently absent then child benefit should be stopped.

“I think what we need to do is think radically about restoring a moral responsibility.”

Munira Wilson, Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman, said: “If Michael Gove thinks the solution to encouraging children back to school is to impoverish them, then he is living in a different century.”

The leveling secretary is understood to want the proposal included in an action plan to reduce anti-social behavior he is preparing for Rishi Sunak, which is expected to be published next month, the Times reported.

Under the coalition’s plans, parents would face penalties of £60 for persistent refusal, which would double to £120 if they refused to pay and would have been collected through child benefit.

Last month, Gove said anti-social behavior should not be seen as “inevitable or petty crime” but as a gateway to more serious offences.

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He argued that reducing offending would be central to stopping teenagers being lured into offenses such as vandalism or graffiti and urged the police to stop “virtue branding” and crack down on such offences.

In his speech at the Onward event, Gove also criticized social progressives whom he refused to describe as ‘woke’, saying: “I don’t like the use of the word both because it can sometimes seem to trivialize it and come off as just eccentric and entertaining what is in fact an increasingly powerful and destructive force in our society.

“And also because I think being awake to real injustice is a distinctive part of the conservative tradition.”

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