Monday, 6 August 2012
More wives = more benefits
Polygamous marriages, largely confined to Muslim families, are only recognised in Britain if they took place in countries where they are legal. Currently, any additional wives can receive reduced individual income support, meaning the husband and his first wife are paid up to £111.45.Subsequent spouses living under the same roof receive around £40.
Under the new system of Universal Credit, which comes in next year, polygamous marriages will not be recognised at all.
But a House of Commons Library paper has highlighted a loophole in the rules which will allow additional wives to claim a full single person’s allowance, currently worth up to £71, while the original married couple will still get a married couple’s allowance.
The paper said: ‘Treating second and subsequent partners in polygamous relationships as separate claimants could mean that polygamous households receive more under Universal Credit than under the current rules.’ Under Islamic Sharia law, polygamy is permissible. So a man can return to Pakistan, take another bride and then, in a repetition of the process, bring her to England where they also have children together — obtaining yet more money from the state.
Because such Islamic multiple-marriages are not recognised in Britain, the women are regarded by the welfare system as single mothers — and are therefore entitled to the full range of lone-parent payments
This strikes me as ludicrous. Bigamy is illegal in the UK, so why are these people allowed to have more and one wife - and more to the point, why should we fork out to support such an arrangement?
Of course, this problem would go away if we simply adopted the system used in many other countries where you are not allowed to settle unless you can demonstrate that you have adequate funds to support yourself and your family.
And before you jump up in arms and say "Where's that then?" can I point out that even though as members of the EU we have a right to settle in Spain, the Spanish are adopting just such a system.