✤ Today heralds a new dilemma for single parents — those with a youngest child aged seven to nine will be switched from income support to jobseeker's allowance, meaning they must actively seek employment or see their benefits cut. Of course, making work pay is no bad thing, but the distinct lack of jobs with flexible working hours and the decidedly paltry access to affordable childcare certainly is. Most grating is the fact that this is yet another cut that will predominantly affect women – after all, nine out of 10 single parents are female. And, to re-cap, research by the House of Commons library found that of the £8.5bn raised by cutting welfare, £5.7bn – two-thirds of the total – is being raised by women. So: the largely male banking industry messes up, and it's women who pay the most for their mistakes. Will there ever come a time when women aren't expected to clean up after men?
✤ Do you have an overweight male rat for a father? If so, you could be at increased risk of adult-onset diabetes, according to researchers at the University of New South Wales, published in Nature. The female offspring of male rats fed a high-fat diet were shown to develop early-onset glucose intolerance and impaired insulin secretion, even if they themselves were not overweight, suggesting that a high-fat diet alters sperm development. Yesterday it was revealed that one in 20 British adults is now being treated for diabetes, costing the NHS £9bn each year.
✤ The Italian city of Castellammare di Stabia is on a mission to "restore urban decorum and facilitate better civil co-existence," and Mayor Luigi Bobbio believes the first step will be to introduce a new policy that means anyone sporting revealing clothing will incur a fine of between £20 (for a glimpse of an ankle, one assumes) and £450 (presumably for the full Katie Price). The proposals are said to effectively ban the wearing of miniskirts in the town. Next week, Castellammare di Stabia is expected to discover The Beatles.
Are you a single-parent female rat in a mini skirt? Do let us know.