Field: Lack of parenting ‘tough love’ to blame for poverty

By staff

Children in poverty are held back by parents’ refusal to adopt an old-fashioned “tough love” approach, Frank Field has said.

Mr Field, though a Labour MP, is the coalition’s ‘poverty tsar’ tasked with improving social mobility.

In an article in the Telegraph, he stressed that foundation education efforts should be focused earlier, even from the moment of conception.

Arguing that the first five years are the most critical for determining a child’s life chances, Mr Field lamented the decline in “tough love” parenting.

“It is the rupturing of this consensus around the style of parenting that has impacted so devastatingly on all too many children’s lives, but particularly the poorest”, he claimed.

The poverty tsar also suggested opening up children’s centres to private involvement to encourage innovation – and cut costs.

According to his article, the rise in incomes over the last 50 years has not led to a concurrent improvement in social mobility – a fact he blamed on a change in parenting attitude away from traditional forms.

This, he argues, has a key effect later in life when children begin to look for work, and can leave them trapped in poverty.

Mr Field reports directly to David Cameron, and is one of a number of ‘tsars’ from Labour given an advisory role.