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Universal, free childcare - is it a solution?

(328 Posts)
KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 01-Nov-12 21:55:00

This week, Mumsnet Blogger Mummyisagadgetgeek reports back from an event organized by the thinktank Progress on the subject of universal childcare. Should they win the next election, Labour are considering it as a possible policy - so we thought it would be good to find out what it was all about.

So: read her blog report from the event, tell us what you think here on the thread - and if you blog, let us know about it. We'll be tweeting posts next week.

fatfloosie Fri 02-Nov-12 11:20:58

Free universal childcare completely undermines the value of the stay at home parent. It will lead to some parents feeling obliged to work long hours in rubbish jobs for the sake of family finances when they would much rather be with their children.

It is one thing to do a rewarding and interesting job with prospects while someone else looks after your children, quite another to do something menial.

Yet another labour policy that suits the middle classes but will have unfortunate consequences for the poorer.

OhGood Fri 02-Nov-12 11:41:07

For us, proper flexibility - where DH and I can work late/early shifts, and 2 days a week at home each - would go much further towards solving our problems with being working parents than free childcare would.

We both work in webby industries and there is no reason AT ALL except the status quo why this should not be possible.

I am about to interview for a role with central government. I am gearing up to have the flexibility conversation. I don't think they are going to take it very well.

YoungJoseph Fri 02-Nov-12 11:58:36

I agree with* fatfloosie*.
It's the cost of housing either to buy or rent that has the biggest impact on family choices about whether to work or not. I gave up my job in part because I had to travel about an hour to work everyday because housing near my job was so so expensive compared to my salary. So that's 2 hours unpaid for me requiring 2 hours of childcare.
Giving free childcare is just tinkering around the edges of a difficult financial situation.

Himalaya Fri 02-Nov-12 12:14:56

Isn't it a bit previous for this to be 'discussion of the day'? Its barely started.

kilmuir Fri 02-Nov-12 12:18:39

its not correct to say 'free' , if its paid by government then its come from taxes

matana Fri 02-Nov-12 12:49:06

For me it's the intent of the possible policy that strikes me as extremely positive, regardless of whether it's implemented, whether it's implemented partially, in full or whatever. It sends a clear message that working families are important. Since my DS was born (i was pregnant when the ConDems came to power) i have been astounded at the reckless and apparently relentless attack on children, parents and families generally in terms of finances. A double whammy when you consider that VAT was inreased at the same time and petrol costs have risen massively (DH and I both commute to work by car). First there was the Trust Fund cull (which, despite being heavily pregnant when the Government was elected, was taken away almost immediately prior to DS's birth). Then our Tax Credits were phased out which hit us hard with child care costs as DH and I work FT. And more recently all the talk about Child Benefit reductions. Every policy the current Government has implemented has seemed custom made to disadvantage the most vulnerable people in society the most. Incidentally, i do not consider myself particularly vulnerable, but i do care passionately about those who are in a much worse situation and struggling to survive. The fact that this is even being considered provides some welcome relief and a much needed light at the end of the tunnel for many families i am sure.

Treats Fri 02-Nov-12 12:49:19

flatfloosie - I don't quite understand what you're saying. Removing the cost of childcare from the equation will leave families much freer to organise their lives the way they want to. Currently, you either have to earn enough to pay for someone to look after your children or you HAVE to stay at home, even if you don't want to or don't think it's in the best long term interests of your family.

If the cost of childcare is not a factor, then you can use it and go out to work, or not use it and stay at home. I don't see why removing that cost would promote one choice over another - surely it equalises them?

I don't agree that the cost of housing is the 'biggest' impact on the decision whether to work or not. For us, it was personal preference, followed by whether we could afford the childcare.

SwitchedtoEatingCheese Fri 02-Nov-12 13:01:17

I can't imagine how this could ever work.
So what would the government do, shut down all private nurseries and childminders ? Or pay them directly? What hours would it cover? What about shift workers or people that work the weekend?
Oh and all these people who would now be able to go and find a job.. hmm yes one of the many, many jobs that are out there at the moment...

Bonsoir Fri 02-Nov-12 13:04:44

Free universal childcare? So children are raised by the state, not by their parents? Scary stuff.

FrothyOM Fri 02-Nov-12 13:05:49


halloweeneyqueeney Fri 02-Nov-12 13:08:15

Am I right in understanding that in countries where it is universally free, the provider is allocated and you have no choice about where your child goes?

morethanpotatoprints Fri 02-Nov-12 13:11:48


How would children be raised by the state? also if this is the case then surely now they are raised by nursery nurses and not parents.

Treats. What childcare are you referring to? Do you mesn the free 15 hours pre school because I don't know of any other that a sahp is entitled to.

Bonsoir Fri 02-Nov-12 13:16:46

Children are raised by the people that care for them for the majority of the time. The development of children in childcare 5 days a week for 10 hours a day is more strongly influenced by the childcare setting than by their parents. At least in a situation where parents pay and choose childcare, they have the (theoretical) option of choosing a setting that corresponds to their own values. Free state childcare won't do this.

halloweeneyqueeney Fri 02-Nov-12 13:19:30

"At least in a situation where parents pay and choose childcare, they have the (theoretical) option of choosing a setting that corresponds to their own values. Free state childcare won't do this"

I agree with this, mine has always been in childcare but IMO I AM raising him because I am deciding what sort of setting and what kind of experience he gets in the early years, and also by being a paying customer you can dictate a bit to the providers so that your child is minded as close to your way as possible.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 02-Nov-12 13:22:53


I don't think there would be any difference in the values that the settings would offer. Atm its hard to find somewhere that completely fills your ideals, from what I am led to believe.
Either way a child in any setting is strongly influenced by the setting and raised by the same staff whether they are employed by a private or public company.

halloweeneyqueeney Fri 02-Nov-12 13:27:54

There are many employees of the NHS (now don't get me wrong the NHS is ace overall) who do not see service users as consumers at all and even say that they should be glad of what ever they get because its free

I really don't see how child care settings wouldn't adopt the same attitude towards parents if you elimiated competition etc from the
equation by making them free.

Of course the dynamic would change! the dynamic in private Vs "free" health care is totally different

Bonsoir Fri 02-Nov-12 13:33:34

I am dead against state monopolies of anything, but the idea of a state monopoly of childcare sends shivers down my spine and turns my stomach.

UltraBOF Fri 02-Nov-12 13:36:53

You are a delicate flower, aren't you, Bonsoir grin. Universal state provision seemed to work jolly well for the NHS, until some fellow shudderers decided to dismantle it.

Bonsoir Fri 02-Nov-12 13:42:35

I'm a great fan of the NHS but (a) it has never worked jolly well (b) most of us, thank goodness, spend only microscopic portions of our lives confined within its institutions.

Not 50 hours per week in our most formative years.

MamaMary Fri 02-Nov-12 13:45:18

Of course it's a great vote-winner, but I'd love to know where the funding will come from. The blog post is extremely a bit vague on the details isn't it?

AuntieStella Fri 02-Nov-12 13:47:11

The child trust funds around for so short a time that I am somewhat taken aback that they could possibly have been seen as a normal action by the State. They, in particular, are emblematic of wasteful spending.

And of course the childcare isn't "free"

Either taxes go up, or other services will have to be cut.

And although those about to use childcare would desperately want childcare to be free, those who have just come out of many years of paying out of their own pocket (possibly working to break even or less) may feel very hard done by (both these groups having obvious cash-based self-interest in play).

There's no sensible way to try to take this forward without at least a stab at the cost, and how it will be met.

ivykaty44 Fri 02-Nov-12 13:47:31

Is this because the labour party don't trust the parents of UK to bring up there own children?

mummytime Fri 02-Nov-12 13:50:24

I have to agree with Bonsoir. Just look at how many people choose to HE in this country, I think you could easily double that for those who would want to opt out of "universal free child care". Most child care in this country is of a high standard, but most people also have some choice in the child care they use from Granny helping out, to a choice of child minders, to nurseries, to Nannies. If you don't like the setting you have chosen you can change.
Secondly just where are the legions of child care workers going to come from? How are they going to be trained? How well paid are they going to be? What kind of vetting? What about premises? Or rural areas?

I have seen child care in some other countries and it is not what I want for my children. I also wouldn't want to be one of those mothers who becomes extremely sad when they see a tourist with a small child, because they miss their own so much.

mummytime Fri 02-Nov-12 13:52:40

BTW I think it is actually a massive vote loser for the Labour Party.

WillSantaComeAgain Fri 02-Nov-12 13:59:59

Thanks to the wonderfully liberating concept of contraception, each and every woman (and, for that matter, man) chooses to have a child. I see absolutely no reason why the state should subsidise that choice. In a similar way, my parents have drummed into us from an early age that if we have children, we're on our own and cannot expect free childcare from them. It makes me really mad when I see people expecting so much of their own parents. Selfish selfish people.

The sooner people see having children as a privilage not a right, the better. If you can't afford to have a child, then you shouldn't have one. [For what its worth, if I had unlimited money, I would have six children. As I am not a millionaire, I will limit it at two. That said, if I had made different choices in life about my career, my housing and my hobbies, we could probably afford more.]

I suppose its all about what you believe the function of the state should be. should it be there just to pick up the pieces when capitalism goes wrong or should it play a much wider role and support all aspects of your life, whether or not you "need" it or not.

I worry too about the consequences of a move like this - if it encourages more people out to work, then it will be another upward pressure on house prices as many more of the middle class who previously would have made the logical decision to become a SAHP will suddenly find they can afford the larger garden and the fifth bedroom (to house the fourth child).

That said, I do believe that childcare in this country is ridiculously expensive. I can't work out the business model of a nursery, because there doesn't seem to be much money in it and the carers are definitely not that well paid.

WillSantaComeAgain Fri 02-Nov-12 14:02:50

Ooo, before I get flamed (even more than I probably will already) I do appreciate that some GPs are willingly and lovingly provide childcare. However, I know of more than one GP who has been coerced into it and has had their lives turned upside down as a result.

halloweeneyqueeney Fri 02-Nov-12 14:09:40

"BTW I think it is actually a massive vote loser for the Labour Party"

I agree, they need to prove they can get existing provisions working well (NHS, primary/secondary school, police) before they start chucking money at another scheme that'll be abandoned in a few years time!

mumzy Fri 02-Nov-12 14:34:08

childcare costs to be paid tax free would be a more progressive step IMO

BoffinMum Fri 02-Nov-12 15:07:22

All these arguments were made in relation to free universal elementary education in the 1850s. Luckily the arguments for free education eventually drowned out the nay sayers who resented it, and consequently we now take free education for granted. If this hadn't been the case, we would probably be a third world country by now as the workforce would be so unskilled and unsocialised.

I imagine in 2160 we will wonder what all the fuss was about and why people were forced to pay for childcare in order to go to work, as it is a totally bonkers idea when you really think about it. Some workers effectively being fined for leaving the house? Simply because they have had the temerity to reproduce, as the species demands?


Treats Fri 02-Nov-12 15:22:41

morethanpotatoprints - not sure what you're asking me (I'm very confused today grin). I was responding to the earlier point that free childcare undermines SAHPs. I disagree - I think that not having to pay the costs of childcare equalises the choice between going out to work and staying at home. You can make a free choice about what's best for your family.

The 15 free hours is all that anyone is entitled to - not just SAHPs.

OddBoots Fri 02-Nov-12 15:34:50

"The sooner people see having children as a privilage not a right, the better."

Yes and no, having a child is a privilege but it is, from the point of view of society, also essential - people bringing up children (well) are working to support our ongoing society and that is an important role. There shouldn't be a general moral judgement in favour of or against those who do or those who don't have children.

frazzled09 Fri 02-Nov-12 15:37:49

How would they decide who is eligible for the free childcare? If eligible for absolutely everyone, then SAHPs feel redundant. People who don't want to work will take the free offering (from taxes) and give nothing back in income tax. But if you can't find a job, you are excluded from something that is effectively a universal benefit. Sounds unworkable to me.

Far too expensive. And I like being able to choose my childcare provider. Can't see that being possible under this proposed system. Will create "state" and "private" nurseries, just like with schools.

If something needs to be done, then consider improving the current tax credits system with a realistic means-tested childcare subsidy. So that those on lower incomes can afford to go back to work if they want to. Or let people pay 100% of their childcare bill from pre-tax earnings, instead of capping it at £243 per month (barely enough for 2 days per week at nursery).

The current 15 hours is laughable for working parents anyway. Scrap that, and put the money into subsidies for those that need it in order to be able to afford to work more than 2 hours a day (all you can manage if you are sticking to the 15 free hours).

BlueStringPudding Fri 02-Nov-12 15:45:00

Something needs to be done about making childcare more affordable, but this isn't it. I agree with mumzy - "childcare costs to be paid tax free would be a more progressive step IMO ".

fusam Fri 02-Nov-12 15:55:09

It would be interesting if one of their think tanks did a study on the number of women forced out of work (and out of paying income tax) by expensive childcare plus the lost revenue over a lifetime of lagging behind in salary due to being forced to take time out.

I stress the word forced rather than choose.

I wonder if HRMC would be able to collect more in taxes over the lifetime of a working woman if there was at least subsidised (or tax deductible) childcare in place in the early years.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 02-Nov-12 16:00:34


I wasn't sure if you were talking about the 15 hours only or the addition of childcare element of tax credits.
All I know is that no amount of money either earned or not would have attracted me into work. Other sahp who do it by choice I think would feel the same. I didn't want others to bring my dc up, so have to live within my means for this choice.
FWIW, I have said this on other threads but a Conservative Gov, lets face it thats what we have. Favours the tradition nuclear family with one sahp, it is their main policy and always has been. No way will they continue to promote subsidised or free childcare as the previous gov did.

OddBoots Fri 02-Nov-12 16:06:26

This (coalition) government is increasing the provision of some free childcare, the 2 year funding is being rolled out in Sept '13 to any family that meets the free school dinners criteria and is being extended to the 40% most deprived (criteria not yet decided/announced) in Sept '14. I believe the aim is to improve things for more children rather than getting more parents out to work though.

ByTheWay1 Fri 02-Nov-12 16:22:02

I chose to have kids and I chose to raise them myself.... I would not use "free" childcare....

why is it that the men in suite don't seem to understand that some of us actually LIKE to spend time with our own children, and have made the life choices and sacrifices needed in order to make that happen.... I would not willingly trot off to the workplace "if only" childcare were to be "free"...

Why not just PAY ME TO LOOK AFTER MY OWN KIDS - if you are going to pay anyone to.... why not me....

morethanpotatoprints Fri 02-Nov-12 16:36:58


I agree with you 100% but not sure many will.

What annoys me is some people think they are entitled / should be entitled to subsidised childcare. I have nothing against both parents going out to work if they can afford the childcare.
People regularly say of those sahp claiming tax credits/other benefits "If you can't afford kids you shouldn't have them", but both parents working with subsidised childcare are no different.
They argue that they are contributing to society by paying tax, which they are doing. But while they are at work its the sahp's who are contributing to the local and national economy by shopping/ keeping local business afloat.
Also many families with both parents working unless they earn in excess of 50k are saying they have little disposable income, whereas the sahp I know tend to have alot more.
So my point is perhaps if we all lived within our means and expected welfare to be there for people who really needed it there would be no argument about who's entitled to what.

CountryKitty Fri 02-Nov-12 16:46:22

Another policy that doesn't makes no sense what-so-ever and will be financed no doubt by the already tightly squeezed middle classes.

Where's the economic sense in paying for childcare for someone who only earns minimum wage?? The cost of childcare will far outweigh the taxes that person pays to the gov't....

Agree the full cost of childcare should be allowed to be deducted from gross salary. The current cap, as stated above, is a joke.

Treats Fri 02-Nov-12 17:02:52

potatoprints - I don't think the govt does favour the 'traditional' model. I thought their policy was to try to encourage as many parents back to work as possible.

I think it's absolutely fine that you and ByTheWay choose to stay at home with your children. I'm glad that you have that option and are happy with it.

I think it's less fine that parents who want to work, who think that their families would benefit from them going out to work, CAN'T because the cost of childcare is too much of a barrier. Universal free childcare would remove that barrier and create a free choice.

We all depend upon benefits to a certain extent - the govt want to reduce EVERYONE's dependents on benefits, and to do that, they need households to get a greater share of their income from paid work.

Working parents go shopping too.........

Bundlejoycosysweet Fri 02-Nov-12 17:08:33

My concern with this policy is that it might make employers even less keen on flexible working as in theory every parent could work full time if child care were free.

I choose to work part time as I like working but I also want to spend plenty of time with my kids.

In an ideal world it would be employers that were forced to be more flexible and more willing to employ people part time in good career enhancing jobs. I had to go freelance as I could not find quality part time work. If employers were more flexible then life for working parents would be a lot easier.

UndeadPixie Fri 02-Nov-12 17:09:54

At first glance it seems like a great idea. But selfishly I also wonder what will happen to all of the private nurseries, childminders and nannies. I doubt they'll fund nannies and I won't be able to work any more, as I have no interest in working only for the rich, as who else will want to have a nanny when they can get childcare for free? I will be out of a career even, as I have no interest in nursery work or school work. There isn't much left for childcarers after that! How many people will be out of work if they make this 'free'?

morethanpotatoprints Fri 02-Nov-12 17:30:36


Its not just myself and ByTheWay who has the option, everybody does. I'm sorry but I disagree with you and believe if you can't afford to work you shouldn't expect others to pay for your childcare.
I know working parents go shopping too, but its more often to a multi billionnairre company to save time. I am able to spend full days if I so require supporting local markets and small businesses. I also receive tax credit and dh has WTC and I get cb. Our payments won't change and neither have I heard of another sahp whose payments are dropping. So I don't agree with your interpretation of government policy or sahp's would be losing benefit.

Bonsoir Fri 02-Nov-12 17:44:08

Governments want as many adults as possible to work and pay (massive) taxes and would like parents to meet the costs of childcare (and all other expenses). There is a rather large hazy area of the population for whom childcare costs (plus other costs of working) wipe out the income of many second earners, which therefore discourages otherwise able-bodies adults from working. Hence various proposals to help parents meet the costs of childcare. But have no doubt: these are policies designed to ensure as many adults as possible are in the workforce. Families, children and their welfare are not the issue.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 02-Nov-12 18:13:37


If this was the case surely the Gov would be making it harder for sahp. I have done the online calculator for FTC and Universal Credit and I am better off as a sahp as are any other families in the same circumstance. This is irrespective of childcare costs. Since I had my 3 dc eldest 21 we have been better off as a family with me as a sahp.
I find it hard to understand why so many people are prepared to work for very little after childcare, or even nothing. I know some want to work but at what expense? I hear some people say it will be better when the dcs are at school and childcare less but I don't see how that works either. There is no way our mortgage would be paid off now had I worked and had to pay child care.

dreamingofsun Fri 02-Nov-12 18:58:08

its not free though is it? The taxpayer will pay for it.

dreamingofsun Fri 02-Nov-12 19:01:10

we pay quite enough tax in this country already, and anything that increases this is wrong. People should be responsible for their own families. Do I really want to subsidise someone who has loads of kids, or someone who earns a fortune - no - especially when I've had to fork out loads myself for childcare and am now reaping some benefit now my kids are older.

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 02-Nov-12 19:08:58

It could work great if you can choose your professional provider and if funded by all child related benefits stopping.

Those that want to work will be able too and those that want a parent to not do so on the understanding that that choice is funded by themselves only. Dont see how that devalues a SAHP, people would still have that choice just not at the expense of others.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 02-Nov-12 19:15:29


Do you mean that the taxes paid by a family with one earner should go towards paying for childcare of a family with 2 parents working?
Surely if a family can survive on one wage a family earning 2 shouldn't need subsidised childcare, at the expense of others.

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 02-Nov-12 19:22:13

Unless a very high rate tax payer then a family with only one earner wont even pay back what they take out much less what the whole family will so i doubt they will be paying for others childcare in reality.

Far better to provide childcare so adults can work rather than pay people to stay home. More tax is generated, more childcare workers needed, nobody gets paid to stay home and hopefully it would break the cycle of benefit generations.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 02-Nov-12 19:30:14


I'm glad this or no other government has shared your attitude HappyMummy.I don't know where you imagine the jobs would come from. The problem is too many parents working already. If only one parent works it frees a job for another parent from another family who wants to work.
I don't value going to work over bringing my dc up, and wouldn't dream of using childcare, thankfully as I stated I have benefitted financially to allow me to do this.

jellybeans Fri 02-Nov-12 19:36:08

I think it is a bad idea. I agree with the poster that said no amount of free childcare would make all SAHP get a job, for myself and many of my SAHP friends this is the case. Raising my kids full time is the main thing in my life. I was a working mum with my first and hated having to put something-work- before my kids. I want to be with them when they are ill, school plays etc. It was a long road of suffering to have my DC and we had many losses inc late pregnancy. I could never have left DC on a daily basis after that. I re evaluated life and to me careers and jobs are not all they are cracked up to be at the moment for me, they may be at some point. For others they are meaningful or necessary thus one size does not fit all.

In addition why should the childless pay for your childcare? Shouldn't you plan it before you choose to have a child? Taxes would hugely go up to pay for such a scheme. I also worry about the effects on some children if they were in daycare for very long periods from a young age. If this is necessary then fair enough but I don't think it should become the norm.

I do think labour and the condems (especially Clegg) want all mothers back to work. They are only thinking of the economy of course and their precious targets and state regulated and monitored care. I think they think the Swedish model is the ideal or some sort of equal gendered utopia.

pianomama Fri 02-Nov-12 19:52:07

Free for all or for all who work? Chances are - free for all would not be very good quality - large "class" numbers, no enough qulified stuff etc. Would be really hard to implement in real life. And how could it be financed if we can't afford universal child benefit anymore?

emonslemons Fri 02-Nov-12 20:26:05

willsantacomeagain you sound like an out of touch snob! blah blah blah........

'Thanks to the wonderfully liberating concept of contraception, each and every woman (and, for that matter, man) chooses to have a child. I see absolutely no reason why the state should subsidise that choice.'

two points - no contracpetin is 100% and we are all taxed in one way or another so we should benefit from the money taken from us to improve our society!

i wonder if you would feel the same way with minimum wage and no future prospects.....perhaps you wouldnt breed? after all as humans that is what its all about right?

SundaeGirl Fri 02-Nov-12 20:28:52

This is just another way to beat people back into work. It's not a progressive policy.

More progressive would be to encourage employers (through reduced NI contributions) to let their staff work from home where possible. This would save many families an enormous amount in travel costs and put money back into small businesses in what are currently dormitory towns. It would have the positive happy benefit of families spending more time together, not less.

scottishmummy Fri 02-Nov-12 20:37:47

if this supports women to work,and return job market great idea
we need to retain women in workforce,and structure childcare that supports that
I'd like to read about how it would work,the implementation and cost

morethanpotatoprints Fri 02-Nov-12 20:50:24


What job market would this be then?
Where will the money come from?
Why do we need to retain women in workforce?
What about the men, do they not deserve to be retained?

scottishmummy Fri 02-Nov-12 20:55:20

in workforce,it is women who take career breaks much more than men
many surveys show barrier to return to work for women is childcare
its cost effective to retain skilled workforce,and if women want to return it's good to support this

halloweeneyqueeney Fri 02-Nov-12 21:01:22

"What job market would this be then?" state nurseries maybe? wink

nannynick Fri 02-Nov-12 21:05:40

How much choice would parents get in choosing their childcare provider? What about those parents who need childcare at a time which isn't catered for by the childcare providers the Government uses for the scheme?
The fees charged by childcare providers varies around the country and even within local areas. So I don't understand how this would be paid for... Government would pay a fixed fee I would guess - but that may be fine in some areas but below the cost of what the service costs to provide in other areas.

Not everyone has children - if the Government is paying for all childcare, then what do those people without children get? They get the privilege of paying for it (via taxation) but not getting any benefit from it.

Voting public - how many voters have children aged say 3 months to 15 years old? I would wonder if there are more voters who don't have children in that age range, so who would NOT vote for a political party which wanted to provide free childcare.

"Universal childcare is a system where all children between the ages of one and five would be entitled to free, quality childcare, should their parents wish or need to use it." - Why such a small age range. Mums go back to work before their child is age 1. Mums go to work when their children are school aged - yet primary school's only operate roughly 9am-3pm and only during term time so it is incompatible with working 9to5, yet alone doing working hours that are not 9-5.

Childcare Element of Working Tax Credit does need a rethink in my view. A single person earning National Minimum Wage and working 16 hours a week, pays ZERO tax, ZERO national insurance, and their employer pays ZERO employers national insurance. Least by my calculations - or have I missed something? If they have one child they can claim max of £122.50 (70% of £175) a week against childcare cost, with 2 children or more they can claim a max of £210 (70% of £300). Are they being paid to work? Is that good for the country? Maybe they should be paid to stay at home?

"Labour and their minions have done the maths, and they predict that for every mother returning to work, the economy will benefit to the tune of £20,050 over the four-year period that the child would be in childcare because of the tax revenue generated" - don't suppose anyone has a link to the spreadsheet?

I don't see how this would work financially. I don't see it giving parents choice, instead it could limit choice a lot by saying that parents have to use a specified local state run nursery.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 02-Nov-12 21:07:10


Why is it good to support return to work for parents who can't afford childcare?

Oh yes I can see us queing in droves to care for others kids. How would that work then? would your own kids be part of your ratio or be looked after by someone else? Now that would be weird.

halloweeneyqueeney Fri 02-Nov-12 21:08:43

yeah we'd all be paid to look after each others kids so that we could all work filling all the new nurseries to required to look after our kids while we mind everyone elses confused

scottishmummy Fri 02-Nov-12 21:10:52

because it removes barrier to working.working generates tax/ni retains skills
many cite lack of childcare as reason unable to work
it is good for individual, for families to have working proven to be good for mental health and self esteem

morethanpotatoprints Fri 02-Nov-12 21:19:52


Most sahp are doing this out of choice and have no barriers to working. Those who want to work are doing so, if they are able to find a job. I know this because they regularly post about how much their childcare costs blar blar blar.
Work is not the only thing to give good mental health and self esteem. Believe it or not bringing your own children up does this too.
Why do so many people think that sahp do so because they can't afford childcare. Heaven forbid anyone would choose this route, they couldn't possibly be far happier and wealthier than if they had worked and paid for childcare. grin

soundevenfruity Fri 02-Nov-12 21:21:44

I don't quite understand what is the difference between state provision of education beginning from 4-5 and state provision of childcare prior to that. I have not heard anybody suggesting that schools should to be privatised to increase competition and quality.

halloweeneyqueeney Fri 02-Nov-12 21:24:53

I was not a SAHM by choice, I was a SAHM because I lived in an area where childcare costs were rediculously high compaired to the rest of the country and I couldn't afford to work there as I work in a low paid field, I would have liked to have been working

EVEN SO I would not consider a state allocated childcare space a great alternative, yes I wanted to work and couldn't afford the childcare, but I also wouldn't do it unless I could choose a setting that suited my small child even if the cost element was taken away.

when I did go back to work I saw quite a few settings that I would not have been happy to send him before I found one that I was happy with. I wouldn't have used some of them even if they were free!!

halloweeneyqueeney Fri 02-Nov-12 21:26:33

but soundevenfruity, we are talking about NON VERBAL children, that does IMO make a difference, and its great that the state provides free education but there is no choice, not in areas like mine where everywhere is over subscribed, and yes you can list your preferences but you mightened get any of them

nannynick Fri 02-Nov-12 21:26:38

"working generates tax/ni" - Not always, if someone works 16 hours a week at NMW they earn below the tax personal allowance.

"retains skills" - Yes, I do agree that a women who leaves a job to have a child and then does not go back to work again loses the work skills they have. However not everyone does have skills which are in high demand and have taken many years of training and experience to acquire.

scottishmummy Fri 02-Nov-12 21:29:21

potato you describe a prosperous housewife choosing to be at home
that's not necessarily representative of all people.many want to return but can't
numerous studies show the barrier to return to work is childcare,if childcare avail many would return.maybe not your prosperous housewife but certainly this prevented working by lack of affordable childcare

halloweeneyqueeney Fri 02-Nov-12 21:32:15

it doesn't just have to be affordable though, it also has to be appropriate! For some people a nursery isn't an option for their baby and they'll only consider a CM and vica verca. There has to be choice otherwise people would still say that they couldn't find any SUITABLE childcare

nannynick Fri 02-Nov-12 21:36:57

halloweeneyqueeney - I agree. It also has to be at the time they need the childcare - I did a 7am-7pm shift at work today. One nursery in my area opened at 5am and closed at 11pm, providing childcare for shift workers. I hate to think how much providing such a facility costs and I do wonder if it's profitable.

mumzy Fri 02-Nov-12 21:39:36

Another example of the Labour party spending our taxes to buy themselves some votes. LISTEN UP ED! WE WANT OUR CHILDCARE COSTS TO PAID FROM OUR PRE TAX EARNINGS

halloweeneyqueeney Fri 02-Nov-12 21:43:29

but mumzy where I work that would mean paying not only less NI but also less into the company pension.. which defeats part of the benefit of women going back to work after having children somewhat? Paying into a pension and keeping up NI conts incase I need certain benefits are quite important to me, I don't pay that much in as it is but if I deducted childcare before them I'ld pay nothing into them

much better suggestion up thread of the COST of childcare not having tax added, that would benefit providers and users

morethanpotatoprints Fri 02-Nov-12 21:49:02


I don't think people question schooling as most children attend school. Very few parents are able to provide what schools can. and this is the preferred option for most parents. However all parents are capable of providing childcare to their own dc.
There is choice in education in terms of quality and competition also choice in setting too.

scottishmummy Fri 02-Nov-12 22:15:45

no not all parents capable undertaking childcare,in such minority cases state intervenes
you do have very mc take on the world,not all are capable parents
not all parents do the right thing. a significant minority unfortunately don't/ can't

ThePsychicSatsuma Fri 02-Nov-12 22:20:56

was reading the messages directed at Bonsoir, headed with 'Bonsoir' IYSWIM amused me - thought those posters were throwing in a cheeky bit of French.
Then thought long and hard about a namechange.... to 'HeyThereMomma' to get a smiilar effect.
as you were.

Phineyj Fri 02-Nov-12 22:31:55

Why do we need to retain women in workforce?

A lot of brave women (and men) went to considerable trouble to ensure that women could enter higher education and the professions. Without them, we wouldn't even be having this discussion. A highly educated woman who wants to return to the workforce, and doesn't because her salary wouldn't cover the childcare, is a loss to society.

Childcare should definitely be tax deductible. Not 'free' though, for all the reasons other people have said. I can't believe anyone really thinks the UK is in a position to provide it 'free', anyway.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 02-Nov-12 22:33:00


Do you mean middle class as mc? I know not all parents take care of their dc but they are a minority thank God. I don't think we have become a society that believes women who are not working will not care for their dc.

scottishmummy Fri 02-Nov-12 22:38:39

don't make sweeping generalisations about parental capabilities

morethanpotatoprints Fri 02-Nov-12 22:40:37


I agree with you if the woman wants to work. I object to the assumption that if childcare was further subsidised or free all the sahm /p would go to work. I am a PG myself and had a very good career and future , I chose to give this up to care for our dc. It was the best decision I made. I feel I have succeeded in life, not had a life of drugery which some people imagine. Because this highly qualified woman is not working doesn't make her a loss to society, that really undermines motherhood, and the role of a sahp and I object to this opinion.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 02-Nov-12 22:49:22

I didn't think it was a sweeping generalisation to say that most parents are capable of bringing their own children up. As you say those that can't are usually supported by social services.

scottishmummy Fri 02-Nov-12 22:54:31

i rightly challenged all parents are capable of providing childcare to dc
I see you've now subtly changed your wording now to most parents
so you do accept your sweeping generalization was wrong,hence change words

morethanpotatoprints Fri 02-Nov-12 22:57:59

No scottishmummy I'm not so petty, have just gone back and reread and of course you are right. I did make a sweeping generalisation. It wasn't intentional hence I hadn't realised I had done this and argued the point. Also hadn't realised I had changed the word. grin senior moment.

soundevenfruity Fri 02-Nov-12 23:09:40

The fact that most or few children attend childcare is a pure cultural convention as well as the age at which children start school. A lot of parents prefer to send their children at 3 to school nurseries so that is a state run childcare. As to trusting children when they are babies to complete strangers then their vulnerability is the same.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 02-Nov-12 23:17:56


Ime I have seen and heard of so many different views of childcare and schooling, including some extremes. I know children who have never attended any school, pre school or nursery and those who have attended from 6 weeks to 21.
We all have different ideas as to what is right for our dc. Some prefer state to private and vis e versa.

VintageRainBoots Sat 03-Nov-12 03:43:06

Slate published an article about France and their affordable child care:

Here's a quote from the article:

"Though many of these policies were put in place to combat France’s falling birthrate, they have had the added benefit of getting mothers back into the workforce. After a period of paying women to stay home with their children, the French government realized that many women wanted to return to work but needed child care solutions to make this possible. This is where the government has focused its efforts, and to mostly positive results. Over 80 percent of French women work, as opposed to just under 60 percent in the United States. Though employment declines in both countries for women as they have children, in France it’s still over 80 percent for women with one child and impressively over 50 percent for women with three or more children."

VintageRainBoots Sat 03-Nov-12 04:40:07

morethan: "They argue that they are contributing to society by paying tax, which they are doing. But while they are at work its the sahp's who are contributing to the local and national economy by shopping/ keeping local business afloat."

Parents who work don't shop? I must have missed that memo.

VintageRainBoots Sat 03-Nov-12 05:03:42

BundleJoy: "In an ideal world it would be employers that were forced to be more flexible and more willing to employ people part time in good career enhancing jobs. I had to go freelance as I could not find quality part time work. If employers were more flexible then life for working parents would be a lot easier."

I agree with this wholeheartedly.

After my daughter was born, I desperately wanted to return to work---specifically, part-time work---but couldn't find a job with a salary that offset the cost of taxes (~38%) and childcare (the cheapest childminder I could find, a friend of mine who had a daughter of the same age as mine, was £7.50/hour). I ended up doing freelance bookkeeping and accounting on a part-time basis (~15 hours per week), but the economy tanked in 2008 and the amount of money companies were willing to pay plummeted to the point that I started losing money by going to work.

Sadly, I had to quit. Even when I netted £0 after taxes and childcare, part-time work was the perfect arrangement for me: I was working as a professional (though on a part-time basis) and I still got to spend most of my time with our daughter.

I wish quality part-time professional jobs were more plentiful. They're the best of both worlds for working parents. You remain gainfully employed and continue making progress in your career. But you also have significant amounts of time with your children.

VintageRainBoots Sat 03-Nov-12 05:25:47

morethan: "Most sahp are doing this out of choice and have no barriers to working. Those who want to work are doing so, if they are able to find a job. I know this because they regularly post about how much their childcare costs blar blar blar. "

First of all, some mums do find childcare to be a significant barrier to returning to work. It was for me, and it's true for many other women I know. I attempted to work part-time for a while after my daughter was born, but with the onset of the recession, I couldn't earn enough to justify doing it. It was a sad day when I had to quit working and stay home full-time.

And it's great that you love every minute of being a stay-at-home parent, but that's not true for everyone, and it certainly wasn't true for me. Your message seems to be "if you're unhappy SAH, then there's something wrong with you."

And not all mums whine about childcare costs. I'm very matter-of-fact about it. I paid £827/month for childcare when I returned to school full-time---I couldn't get a good job since I had been out of the workforce for a while, so I returned to grad school instead---and every penny of that £827 came out of my own pocket. No subsidies or vouchers. I never whined that childcare should be cheaper. In fact, I believe the total opposite: you get what you pay for. I happily spent all of my after-tax income on childcare, because it was quality childcare. My daughter was happy, and I was extremely happy, and it was the best decision for all members of our family.

However, I was not happy being a stay-at-home mum. Not at all.

Bonsoir Sat 03-Nov-12 06:53:36

On the topic of sweeping generalisations: "it is good for individual, for families to have working proven to be good for mental health and self esteem".

"Work" in this context is not necessarily paid employment.

thezoobmeister Sat 03-Nov-12 07:12:35

I find this whole notion of kids being brought up by the state hilarious.

Who do you think would be looking after your kids - Ed Miliband??

EdsRedeemingQualities Sat 03-Nov-12 07:17:41

I got offered the free childcare for 2yos a while ago. I ignored it as I prefer to have them at home with me, and frankly, I didn't think my child was ready to be away from me all day at 2.

Some parents and children might have no problem with this but I just didn't like the idea of it.

thezoobmeister Sat 03-Nov-12 07:27:34

Oh good grief - noone is suggesting making it compulsory to put your kids in childcare!

Govt basically offering parents free money which they can take or leave as they wish. What possible objection can there be to this idea??

EdsRedeemingQualities Sat 03-Nov-12 07:30:53

As long as there are no obligations or penalties for not accepting it that's fine.

However I think it might be naive to suggest that there won't be.

For instance for single parents who wish to stay at home with their children, well can you imagine the government letting them do this if there's apparently 'no excuse'?

Xenia Sat 03-Nov-12 07:49:22

By the age of 3 children like mine are streets ahead of a good few others. That difference in vocabulary is astounding and the differences are rarely ever changed. Even at 7+, 11+ or 18+ it is too late.

Many children at home with their mother do not do very well. It tends to be the less educated and lower IQ mothers who do not work (on the whole) so if this free childcare proposal of the Labour party is brought in then it will help children of the poorer housewives to compete with mine which will be a good thing for them. Nothing helps poorer children as much as early years intervention.

Also as a feminist I want women in positions of power. They don't get there by staying at home cleaning. This might help ensure women own more than the current 1% of the world's wealth. We need many many more women working their way up into good jobs. I have worked full time with 5 children without maternity leaves for nearly 30 y ears and it has been absolutely wonderful on all fronts and I encourage all women to do the same. It is also beter for children.

Also the suggestions on the thread that working class women can never earn much, are in minimum wage jobs and the like is just so defeatist. The City of London is full of working class women made good. It is a meritocracy. Anyone who is good and works hard can have those jobs if they work at it. (See women who earn £1k a day thread)

mumzy Sat 03-Nov-12 07:53:14

What would make a real difference to us would be to have reliable affordable after school care and during school holidays. Children don't stop needing child are once they start school.

EdsRedeemingQualities Sat 03-Nov-12 07:55:50

I don't work at the moment. I have an IQ of somewhere over 140.

There are a lot of things I would love to be doing, I want to have a career, to be valued at something other than being a mother.

But I find I cannot do both. If I am prioritising work I will not be prioritising my children, my mind will be on overdrive, I'll be obsessed with doing my job.

I have put it to one side while they are small. I'm sure some people find it easier to multitask in this regard but I find it incredibly hard. Even when I am working on something unpaid which I care about very much, my children are 'in the way', and I get very frustrated. That's not how I want them, or me, to feel. So I put it to one side.

Bonsoir Sat 03-Nov-12 08:02:02

"If I am prioritising work I will not be prioritising my children, my mind will be on overdrive, I'll be obsessed with doing my job.

I have put it to one side while they are small. I'm sure some people find it easier to multitask in this regard but I find it incredibly hard. Even when I am working on something unpaid which I care about very much, my children are 'in the way', and I get very frustrated. That's not how I want them, or me, to feel."

Yup, it's the curse of the cerebral smile

The cost of childcare has been an issue with me going back to work. Once I have paid for childcare, and getting to work, I used to make about £8 a day. I couldn't do any more than 2 days a week as I would have been taxed, and therefore couldn't have afforded to keep my job. My work offers child care vouchers, but I can't use them, I'm not allowed. If I did more days, I would pay tax, and the vouchers would help, but if I take vouchers, I drop below minimum wage, so I'm not allowed. hmm

I think the vouchers scheme needs sorting out. As said above, the cap is ridiculous, but ruling out the use for those on lower salaries is ridiculous too. Childcare does need to be more affordable, but I don't think making it free is the right choice. Not making it compulsory will not mean everyone still gets a choice. For families where both parents are on low wages, if childcare is free, then both parents will feel they have to work. I agree with fatfloosie, it will undermine SAHPs.

Italiana Sat 03-Nov-12 08:23:59

I wonder how many parents writing on this blog actually realise that the 15 hours Free Entitlement is 'actually' subsidised by providers because the funding comes from the Local some areas practitioners are funded at 50% less than our fees where in other areas practitioners get more than the local fees....we are propping up the free education and that is why the cost of childcare has risen

Universal childcare needs to be properly discussed and agreed that it has to be a balance between parents able to return to work and practitioners paid a fair wage...parents are protected by the minimum wage while we are it fair?

Countries all over the world provide cheaper childcare but it is paid via the tax system...also they send children to school at 6 not 3...our system needs an overall review...lets contribute some positive suggestions

FreddoBaggyMac Sat 03-Nov-12 08:24:12

I'd prefer it if they just charged lower taxes and gave us all our child benefit back and then let us choose for ourselves whether we wish to spend our money on childcare...

Generally, if a parent decides to stop work and look after the children they're losing income for their family, so why should that family pay taxes that go towards free childcare for other families where both parents work? Stay at home parents are already losing their personal tax allowance (and now many of them are also losing child benefit too). I DO NOT think they should also have to pay (through taxes) towards other families' childcare!!

Italiana Sat 03-Nov-12 08:28:57

Sorry...pressed the button too quickly

The think tanks are coming out with several suggestions....however...I wish they would consult with those who deliver childcare and find out the reality of the situation from our point of view., see evidence and then go and write about it

The reports are getting closer and closer to the truth but there are still huge gaps in their many work in childcare?

If I want legal advice I go to a solicitor who is qualified to give it to if they want to make suggestions they should ask those in the know = the providers

legoballoon Sat 03-Nov-12 08:38:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BoffinMum Sat 03-Nov-12 09:02:48

Half the problem is that all this is effectively seen as a woman's issue, and women are hanging onto sovereignty over the home and children,as if they and they alone have the magical qualities required to determine what is best for children. Instead it's an issue that is as much about fathers as mothers, but most posts do not make reference to this at all. Family income is seen as a block with the woman often in a subsidiary role, which feeds the beast. The sooner we decouple men and woman's income and assess people separately for everything, the sooner we will achieve proper equality, IMO.

WidowWadman Sat 03-Nov-12 09:07:41

We've got a preschooler and a 17 months old, and despite our nursery charging at the lower end of the scale we worked out that if my husband gave up work the savings we would make on childcare and the benefits/tax credits we'd be entitled to on only my salary would mean that we'd be about £50 worse off compared to us working full time.

Surely for the state it's a win that we work full time: instead of having to pay us tax credits and other benefits it gets our tax, plus by using childcare we contribute to the creation of other jobs which again create tax revenue.

By working rather than staying at home, my husband doesn't deskill but keeps his employability and career chances. (In case you wonder - I'm earning more than him, so if one of us would have to give up work because of childcare costs, it'd be him)

It's a bit of a no-brainer, isn't it, I really don't get why there's no subsidy. It's probably less of an issue for those earning very little, so they get help or those who earn a lot, so they can afford it. For those who have on paper a nice income, but half of it goes on childcare, it's a different issue.

For those who worry that helping people who want to work (and financially contribute) to stay in work (and creating jobs as a side effect) may invalidate their choice of not wanting to work - I'd rather have tax money going to helping people staying in the job market, than going to create a situation where it's not worth working.

ByTheWay1 Sat 03-Nov-12 09:10:14

but actual equality and the way MOST families actually function are 2 different things..

so you choose - deal with things as they actually are, or wait for some utopian ideal...

most posts are referencing the here and now.....

Xenia Sat 03-Nov-12 09:10:47

If you are Oxbridge educated on £100k a year and your husband on £30k then you rarely give up work. If you work the checkouts in Tesco and marry the big boss who is on £30k then you may well stay at home with babies. I have not said all women who stay home are all less well educated, previously less well paid and./or lower IQ than those in work but on the whole they are. Also if you are quite bright you don't enjoy cleaning and minding 3 children under 5 all day as it's boring.

Also the sovereignty issue is important. Women who are not up to much find the only thing they can do is have a clean kitchen and pretend to a man they cook and change nappies better than he does - their domain. That is their only glory as it were. They guard it zealously and say only they on the planet can possibly look after little Johnny properly. They are deluding themselves and ensuring there is no fairness at home and also providing a bad example to daughters who may assume women serve and men work.

Chidcare is a parents issue not a women's issue. Always challenge assumptions - if someone at work says their wife is expecting ask if the man will be giving up work, ask if he has looked at nannies or nurseries yet. If he says he is leaving that to his wife be shocked and say - gosh why? Do you have a sexist set up at home? Really challenge that sexism in order to root it out.

However the bottom line is most adults of both genders earn the average £25k a year so it is likely that most men and women who earn a lot pick a partner who earns very little. The interesting point is why women subconsciously pick men who earn a lot more all the time even in 2012 so that when it comes to which muggins stays home to be unappreciated and bored to tears and destroy their career it is muggins mum because compared to All Great Male her income is peanuts.

legoballoon Sat 03-Nov-12 09:11:04

Boffinmum - it's not just a question of assessing income separately. You need to have more equal pay too - as when families sit down and decide who's going to bring up baby, often the male is bringing in more money, so it makes more 'sense' to keep him working. We need schools to push girls into more lucrative fields of study and career paths, we need a cultural shift away from 'long hours' and part time work being seen as 'career limiting' too.

ByTheWay1 Sat 03-Nov-12 09:11:06

sorry my post was referring to Boffin...

HappyMummyOfOne Sat 03-Nov-12 09:15:07

Why should SAHP be paid to stay home. Presumably, if there is free childcare in place then people still have the choice to work or not as long as the household income supports that. If it doesnt or there is only one parent then quite rightly work is something that needs to be done in order to financially provide for the child and themselves.

The state shouldnt be paying for tha luxury, maternity leave here is already very generous time wise compared to many countries. If you dont want to use childcare then you ensure you can afford to be home first before planning the pregnancy.

Childless people are already funding lone parents, CB etc but at least this way they are funding people who are contributing to the pot not just taking.

ivykaty44 Sat 03-Nov-12 09:34:12

we have an ageing population and need to encourage population growth, but free childcare isn't the way to go about this.

There isn't any incentive to have children under the troy party - which is strange as I am sure they were a pro family party before the election.

The labour party go to far the other way with incentives to have children and then regardless of situation farm them out for someone else to look after.

I would rather see a happy medium, double the amount of child benefit for two children -not sure really where a happy medium is?

We do need a bigger population though as it just isn't going to work if we are all old and trying to draw a pension as there will be no one working to pay our pensions.

No good saying childless people are already funding lone parents - childless people will be wanting to be funded by those lone parents children when they are pensioners as they didn't have their own children to do that.

We all contribute in some format.

BoffinMum Sat 03-Nov-12 09:34:55

Lego, I genuinely believe that completely decoupling male and female incomes in the family would be the biggest step towards equality that could be made, as lower earning women would agitate for better careers and salaries.

Xenia Sat 03-Nov-12 09:39:38

It is an issue for our teenage girls too - advise them. Talk to them about careers and what they pay particularly if they only see a housewife at home and think girls grow up to be kept by men once babies come. Show them role models of women who earn a lot and love their careers. Widen their horizons. Help them think smart in terms of career. Ensure they know some women earn in an hour what the minimum wage is a week. I had earned quite a bit by 7.30am today actually (but that is my choice because I work best early in the day something that has been thwarted for 28 years of being a parent as you usually have children to get up then - they now sleep late)

Firsttimer7259 Sat 03-Nov-12 09:44:24

I think this would be brilliant. Childcare costs on the UK are well above EU averages and I dont think its fair parents shoulder this massive cost of bringing into being the next generation of tax payers. It doesnt need to be a state monopoly. It would also give parents more options about who retruns to work, when etc without having to factor in that often the cash benefit of the second earner is marginal at best in the early years - and lets not forget that second earner is usually a woman.
Childcare is a huge expense for us that childcare vouchers doent really offset sufficiently and as I am self employed childcare vouchers arent avaiable for me.

Italiana Sat 03-Nov-12 11:12:41

Yes they are...some of my parents are self employed and get c/vouchers...look into it

Childcare is not expensive and above average in Denmark, Sweden and many other countries practitioners are well paid and qualified but childcare is funded by the state and tax system!!

If a cminder charges £5, half goes into expenses and red tape while parents are entitled to £6.19 minimum wage...many parents earn much more than that fair?
here we have too many funding streams, often duplicating services...that is the problem
It has been reported that the rising cost of childcare is 'a mystery' it is not to me..clear as a bell why costs have risen but who listens to providers?
This argument is in favour of working parents especially working mums if practitioners are not working mums themselves

whiteandyelloworchid Sat 03-Nov-12 11:18:37

what ff said.

Brycie Sat 03-Nov-12 11:20:51

Dreadful idea.

Italiana Sat 03-Nov-12 11:24:17

So many ideas here...which one is dreadful?

Brycie Sat 03-Nov-12 11:28:38

the government paying for universal free childcare.

Italiana Sat 03-Nov-12 11:34:01

Oh that!!!
I think it is a long way the last week we have had co-operative nurseries idea, followed by 25 hours of free childcare 10 of which should only cost £1 and now universal childcare......
Looks like neither party knows how to handle the meantime we await Truss' proposals on her type of childcare:5 under 5, agency, deregulation etc etc
See what a mess they have made of childcare and all CLUELESS!

BoffinMum Sat 03-Nov-12 11:42:40

Also the introduction of a quasi market in childcare has been a disaster. Yes, some people have childcare vouchers, but they can only spend them where providers have forked out a minimum of £500 in training, insurance and registration costs. If nobody in your area has done this, then tough. Yes, you can use childminders, but they have to conform to the Ofsted model of care, which pushes up costs. Parents cannot decide they are happy to use a childminder who is cheaper and who provides something closer to a family model of care, because they no longer exist. Yes, you can have free nursery hours but if you can't find a vacant place near you, then tough. Yes, you can use a nanny but you are then subject to the same regulations and red tape as large businesses in almost all regards which means paying over £1000 a year in National Insurance employers' contributions, £250 a year to a payroll service as taxation has become so complex, and soon private pension contributions as well. This is all dead money not bring spent on childcare but instead a disproportionate tax on parents going to work, and it has skewed the market, as has all the other red tape.

BoffinMum Sat 03-Nov-12 11:45:54

All this could be improved by exempting employers of childcarers from all red tape apart from health and safety at work, and allowing all childcarers to be self-employed. Childcare should be a special category for the purposes of taxation and regulations.

crazygracieuk Sat 03-Nov-12 11:48:16

I think that they need to sort out the problem of the lack of Reception( primary school) places before trying this idea.

I think that this idea will lead to house price rises, black holes in provision as well as inconsistent quality as people move to be in the catchment areas of outstanding childcare. It's basically the problems of school provision starting at a younger age.

mummytime Sat 03-Nov-12 11:49:20

Xenia - why do you have to dominate another thread?

I have 3 degrees (one Oxbridge) but am a SAHM! Why because the well paid jobs I would do (not check out at Tescos, that would be easier to combine with kids) would mean that both DH and I would be travelling a lot. Instead I prefer to stay with my children and look after them. Its a choice, the alternative would be DH to stay at home or to employ one or more Nannies who can cope with overnights etc.
I saw a job today I would be interested in and qualified for but 120 day on oil rigs doesn't go with family life.

Universal Childcare would have to be very flexible etc. to cope with a mother being away 120 days a year too!

Italiana Sat 03-Nov-12 11:53:23

If ALL c/ms were able to give the Free Entitlement the choice would be much wider...parents often send kids to a preschool because we cannot give then the 15 hours and pay 2 providers
Making it available through all c/ms would reduce costs, children would get consistency until reception

If I were a politician I would send children to reception at 5, year 1 at 6 and the savings would fund excellent childcare from 0-5....which most countries do!!!

But I am not a politician and have much more sense than any of them..even if I say so myself

whiteandyelloworchid Sat 03-Nov-12 11:54:24

agree with bonsoir as well

clam Sat 03-Nov-12 12:06:46

"dominating another thread?" Xenia is perfectly entitled to express her opinions, as are we all. Even if some view them as extreme, they enrich the debate.

somewherewest Sat 03-Nov-12 12:24:31

Even if some view them as extreme, they enrich the debate.

I guess so, in much the same way that David Icke's views "enrich the debate" on...just about everything really. Did you know that SAHMs are actually lizard people? Just not very intelligent lizard people, obviously grin.

scottishmummy Sat 03-Nov-12 12:28:18

may have three degrees but have no rude
I want to read all opinion, not just coo over agreeable posts
and clearly theres a range of interesting and diverse opinion,which I enjoy reading

scottishmummy Sat 03-Nov-12 12:35:11

and the provision would be non compulsory.not enforced state creche
some of you describe it like a grimy loveless camp full of detainees.mrs hannigans daycare
if it not to your preference don't use,but for many many other families it's v useful

mummytime Sat 03-Nov-12 12:42:37

Thank you Scottishmummy!

scottishmummy Sat 03-Nov-12 12:48:22

a good point well made yes divergent opinions do enrich debates i completely agree
I don't have to agree with all pov,and I can engage in discussion not reflecting my views
there is enough room for all opinions,I'd hate to be on a sparkly high5 love ya Hun forum

MainlyMaynie Sat 03-Nov-12 13:08:49

It's a really interesting idea I think. I would like to see the financial projections behind it (i.e. how many people would actually return to the work place/increase their hours/whatever) and whether it would increase costs overall. I assume they would be proposing it as an alternative to tax credits etc.? Which would force lower paid families to both work, while leaving higher paid families the option to have someone staying at home. On face value a brilliant idea, but the practical impact would take some working through.

MainlyMaynie Sat 03-Nov-12 13:09:41

There should have been a paragraph change there, I think free childcare is a brilliant idea, not removing options for low income families and leaving them for high income.

EdithWeston Sat 03-Nov-12 13:39:54

If the provision was non-compulsory, how on earth would an LA know how much to provide? Either some families would be left without, or you'd need continual over-supply which would be immensely expensive.

And given the ratios needed for under 3s, it would be hard to pay for it anyhow (additional £20k tax per woman over 4 years (as posted above) is rather less than the £24k it would cost to provide, assuming costs c£500pcm for one child (more in some areas less in others) and of course that would be multiplied if there were more than one qualifying child at a time.

mummytime Sat 03-Nov-12 14:14:18

I do worry that the main result would be that instead of some people being SAHM's they could be forced/encourage to become low paid child care workers; because we would need a lot more of them.

Italiana Sat 03-Nov-12 14:26:51

Mummytime At the moment 75% of c/ms are not able to do the free entitlement, if the barriers preventing us were removed you would get a huge expansion of places
Parents could then choose a c/m from when their child is a baby until end of primary school....that would provide continuity which many parents value

At the moment Liz Truss wants to deregulate c/ms and allow anyone to come into the profession...we must fight that as many c/ms are truly professional and very experienced...we would need to remain regulated and inspected to drive up quality...parents could have a huge influence in this

I really do not believe that Universal free childcare can happen by next general election but it would be a start if the govt funded 50% and the parents the other 50% ?

morethanpotatoprints Sat 03-Nov-12 14:31:44


Do you not think that only those people wanting to become child care workers would do so. I certainly wouldn't want to bring other peoples children up. I love my own and find my time with my kids as rewarding, challenging and very interesting, but nobody elses please.


Just for the record I have 2 PG Qualifications and a BA Hons.
Its only boring raising children if you yourself are easily bored and not very creative.

merrymouse Sat 03-Nov-12 14:51:58

I suspect that any economic projections showing that this could work are based on the assumption that there is a vast army of women available to do poorly paid work looking after other people's children.

scampidoodle Sat 03-Nov-12 15:09:53

Surely this would, as Mainlymaynie said, be funded by abolishing the tax credit system? At least then it would be more straightforward for anyone to work out if they could afford to work and we wouldn't have the arguments that SAHPs aren't contributing anything to the economy, but that all working parents are contributing even if the government (taxpayers) is/are paying 70% of their childcare costs and giving them other tax credits each month on top of this. Someone earlier in the thread asked why childcare is so expensive in the UK - I'm sure that the fact that so many people receive money towards their childcare has an effect on the costs.

BoffinMum Sat 03-Nov-12 17:49:48

Merrymouse, it is not just women that look after children, you know. wink

time4anewname Sat 03-Nov-12 18:19:50

According to gadgetgeek's summary the main benefit of putting 73% of 12 month old babies into childcare (how many hours a week?) is to generate tax receipts.

Right tots: you may want to spend your formative years pottering around with mum or dad and siblings, but this the age of austerity and we've all got to do our bit, including you. Chin up little ones, don't cry: there's gravy trains to be funded and bus passes for Granny.

dreamingofsun Sat 03-Nov-12 18:44:27

time4an - if you read the article it will be granny who is funding the 'free' childcare potentially. Granny may have worked hard, saved all her life, paid childcare for her own kids and then had to work a bit longer as gov says she can't retire till she's 67 when maybe she was looking forward to a rest and spending some of her hard earned savings or maybe looking after her grandkids for a few days a week whilst their parents worked. No longer, her savings must go to pay for tots to be looked after by strangers.... and presumably ones that the parents can't even choose.

Astr0naut Sat 03-Nov-12 19:07:34

I'm for it - or at least some kind of subsidy.

I work, for a few reasons:

1. I spent years studying and training, so don't want o watse it.
2. I grew up poor and have a pathological fear of being there again.
3. I have a terror of giving up work, then not being able to find a job in a few years time.
4. I love my children, but days on end of me, them and a park/toddler group was almost the end of me on mat leave.
5. I like working even if I'm working until past 10 most nights
6. I've gone .8 and given up on furthering my career, as a compromise

However, financially, it'd make more sense for either myself of dh to give up work at the moment, which is ridiculous - epecially as my mum does two days a week. If we had to put them in full time, we'd be pretty much paying to go to work each month.

notenoughsocks Sat 03-Nov-12 19:38:12

My first thought is 'Yes Please!!"

I do have some concerns though. Mainly about this effectively 'forcing' some women into low-paid, dead-end jobs (and much as I have grown to respect Xenia somebody has to do the more lowly jobs - like childcare, for example). Inspired by the following comment upthread - Why not just PAY ME TO LOOK AFTER MY OWN KIDS - if you are going to pay anyone to.... why not me.... - I am inclined to ask what is wrong with the idea of paying an additional universal benefit for children under fives. It might give their carers - women specifically - a bit of bartering power and choice to be able to chose whether to pay for childcare, or 'pay' themselves.

Also, I think it is so so so important to recognise that this is NOT SIMPLY A WOMEN'S ISSUE. For me, for example, I feel the ideal solution that would be for both my DP and me to work part -time (2/3 timeish) each - without having to lose any status, pretige, chances of progression or relative pay, and for DS to be in part-time care.

Something needs to be done. But the more I think about it, the more complicated it seems.

dreamingofsun Sat 03-Nov-12 19:49:32

notenough - i'd have loved £40k a year to look after my own kids, but i'm not convinced the country's finances would allow for this without massive tax hikes.

notenoughsocks Sat 03-Nov-12 19:56:38

Dreamingofsun (me too, by the way) ....Out of interest, where did the 40k come from? Also, are you in favour of the universal childcare idea?

notenoughsocks Sat 03-Nov-12 20:04:48

oooops - sorry dreamingofsun, just saw upthread that you don't like the idea at all.

dreamingofsun Sat 03-Nov-12 20:08:30

not in favour because i think parents should be responsible for their own kids, and having paid my own childcare for many years and now thankfully past that i don't want to pay loads of extra tax for other people's, or have to shell out loads of money for it when i'm retired - as initial post suggested. As I understand it tax credits cover some of the money, but not all - and this seems better.

I assume if parents would be paid to look after their own kids the salary they would be giving up would be taken into account - that's where the 40k comes from. There would have been no point paying me (or others in my position) the minimum wage as it wouldn't have enabled us to give up work.

as others have mentioned on here i would also have concerns over state provision's suitability - how would it allow me to cover the 4am starts and 10pm finishes which my job sometimes entails? What if I have to stay away overnight? Would I be able to vet the people concerned? what if i wanted my children to stay in our own home (which i would)?

notenoughsocks Sat 03-Nov-12 20:19:14

No, even at my most fanciful, I don't think that salaries would be taken into account on a case by case basis. If you were earning that much, good on you, and as a tax payer, I would have been happy to subsidise any free childcare provision that you chose to make use of happy in the knowledge that when and if my time came, the same options would be availble to me.

I think my concern lies around people who earn no where near that amount, have little realistic chance of doing so unless the structure of the labour market changes radically, and who might feel that the provision of free childcare is being used as a way to push them into low quality work.

scottishmummy Sat 03-Nov-12 20:21:49

govt is not suggesting paying housewives?why pay for what is already undertaken free
don't think govt will make daycare compulsorily or coerce legions into childcare work
and I imagine core hours provision with extended hours for key workers,shift workers.and no it won't be bespoke to every parents different needs,how could it be?

merrymouse Sat 03-Nov-12 20:28:10

boffinmum, no but the vast, vast majority are women, and co-incidentally/not co-incidentally childcare is generally not a very well paid profession.

Xenia Sat 03-Nov-12 20:55:01

People of course can form their own arrangements. Communes can be set up. Groups of people can buy a large country house and share childcare or groups of parents can set up mutual arrangements. In Valerie Grove's book about women with large families who worked (The Compleat Woman? - worth buying on Amazon for very little from about 20 years ago) and had long happy marriages one of those women had set up a nursery in her basement to solve her own childcare problem.

In Israel Kibbutzim had that principle too - some people work the land, some mind everyone's children and money is pooled.

Brycie Sat 03-Nov-12 21:00:21

"I am inclined to ask what is wrong with the idea of paying an additional universal benefit for children under fives. "

what's wrong with it is that there is not some freely available pot of money to be dipped into because it sounds like a nice idea

it's not just state money, or nobody's money until it's given out and claimed - it's taxed income

notenoughsocks Sat 03-Nov-12 21:15:21

Thanks, Brycie. Haven't double-checked but I suspect you are against state funded universal child-care in any case? I was really hoping to hear from someone who wasn't. I am not seeking a bunfight. Just to clarify some trains of thought.

Xenia, thanks for posting book recomendation. I will look it up (finding the idea of a nursery in a basement slightly odd, but that's probably beside the point.

Brycie Sat 03-Nov-12 21:17:28

Yes, I would be. I think it would be a well intentioned tits up to be honest! Sorry if I looked abrasive. Excuse me.

Italiana Sat 03-Nov-12 22:38:13

The govt is looking at universal childcare to allow women back to work. It has to be funded by the state with some parental contribution like most countries cannot expect provider to subsidise it

If this was the case I agree to it but I am against the current system when we, the providers, subsidise parents and govt...unacceptable we should do so

TheNameisNOTZiggy Sat 03-Nov-12 23:11:27

Sounds v communist to me....

morethanpotatoprints Sat 03-Nov-12 23:51:20

there is a univeral benefit for under fives in the form of free childcare for 15 hours pre school. This might not meet all the needs but is a damn sight lot more than our predessors were given. There should be no further subsidy otherwise it wouldn't be fair to all the millions who never received this. Its not sour grapes on my behalf as I was eligible but I didn't use it.

Xenia Sun 04-Nov-12 07:12:52

Yes, I remember Labour brought it in - it was at the time a top up for age 4 (not then aged 3) towards their private school fees - £600 voucher which came off the term's fees.

(not enough it was one of those large London terraced houses with massive rooms in basement and some natural light.... and I imaguine they let them out to go to the park 2.48 including postage. VG still writes 20 years on. I think the issues when she wrote the book are still similar today. It was the combination of large family, happy marriage and mother very successful in work which I found so interesting )

Italiana Sun 04-Nov-12 08:27:34


The FREE ENTITLEMENt of 15 hours per week is funded by central govt and given to our Local Authorities who decide how much we should be paid...unfortunately some LAs give us 'peanuts' to 'educate children' and we lose money
I am in no position as a c/minder to 'SUBSIDISE' parents their 15 free hours and no one would be good for parents to recognize this rather than just demand even more out of the state

UNIVERSAL Free Education means all embracing, widespread, available to all
You are right Labour brought it in for 4 year olds then it went to 3 year olds (you are right you were allowed to top up then NOT now)
From next year it will cover the most disadvantaged 2 year olds (about 260,000) but the scheme is under threat because there are not enough spaces.... except c/ms do have the spaces but blocked from delivery

The Free Entitlementit is not universal because 75% of c/ms are blocked by Local Authorities 'red tape' from delivering unless we belong to a childminding network...some LAs have them some not... some are only open to a few c/ our families have been paying higher fees if their children are with a c/m not in a network contributing to the rising cost of childcare

Universal childcare may become available for all children nationwide but parents must not expect providers to fund it for them...
as many said previously we are poorly paid so the poor cannot fund the better off

Xenia Sun 04-Nov-12 08:50:18

Thanks. Yes, I had it for the twins aged 4 and it could be used against private school fees which I most amused by - that the Labour Government was giving me a voucher to set against private school fees. Wow. Obviously it a tiny proportion of the cost anyway but was nice to have.

I cannot imagine it is anything like the cost of the childcare, just a token contribution. It is hard to make money running a nursery if you are working at that kind of rate.

As I suggested above some parents do club together for childcare. We never shared as we had a lot of children ourselves but certainly hiring one person to work in our house to look after our 3 children under 4 seemed the most cost effective solution.

If mothers swap chidlren there was that case in the papers about needing to be registered which was interesting. i have forgotten the details. I think if they looked after the child in the home of the mother who was working they were absolutely fine. If instead they took that child into the home of the mother who wasn't working on that day they weren't which is ridiculous over regulation but not that hard to get around - just ensure you are at the working parents' house with your own children on the day you care for her child and vice versa.

notenoughsocks Sun 04-Nov-12 09:03:04

The 15 hours is an English - not UK universal thing. Here, in Wales, I am entitled to only 10 hours a week at age 4 and 5. I have to use this in 2 hour blocks (i.e. I cannot offset the entitlement against my nursery fees). Effectively, if you are using childcare to work there is no help until they reach 5 where I live. If universal childcare is about the parents, as well as the child, it has to flexible.
Picking up on Xenia's point, I think I recall that Shirely Williams shared a large house (or two joined together) with another family and that they shared childcare.

Morethan I find it an odd argument to say that if our predecessors never had, we shouldn't either in the name of fairness. Would you apply this to everything?

Xenia Sun 04-Nov-12 09:11:56

I think we tried harder with these childcare things in the days when we got no maternity leave or pay and life was tougher, no tax credits, no housing benefit (and I am old enough to remember those days). I never had a baby and had maternity rights amazingly although that in a sense was my salvation so I had to keep on full time work and thus I earn a small fortune 30 years on. In other words the lack of rights made me do better.

I was just idly musing that if my 5 children have children and live locally (one is engaged) then may be in my very big house we could have some kind of communal arrangement for my grandchldren (if any) - hopefully there won't be 25 of them at once!

MainlyMaynie Sun 04-Nov-12 09:19:58

I can see two ways of it working. A large network of state-run nurseries, offering free access. Sounds impractical and Labour would not want to create a negative impact on the private sector. Or a voucher based scheme, where the cost of a place at a state nursery could be used to fund or part-fund any approved childcare. That could be supplemented by state-run nurseries operating at no charge. The only way to fund it would be to use it to replace tax credits and possibly even child benefit.

It would be very difficult to predict the impact. I'd like to see a breakdown of many women (and a much smaller number of men) currently stay at home with their children and whether they would like to return to work. Plus how many women work part-time and would increase their hours if that was feasible. How many more childcare places would be needed and how would they be created? I think quite a few people simply don't want to work full-time when they have young children. How many of those people would be forced back into the labour market?

It could actually potentially work as a massive economic stimulus in the way infrastructure investment has in the past. In fact, it would probably need infrastructure investment.

Bonsoir Sun 04-Nov-12 09:38:17

"I was just idly musing that if my 5 children have children and live locally (one is engaged) then may be in my very big house we could have some kind of communal arrangement for my grandchldren (if any)."

Oh Xenia, can't you leave your children to lead their own lives? They and their families don't need you running a matriarchal support system to carry on controlling them forever...

notenoughsocks Sun 04-Nov-12 09:51:44

On this point about people being 'forced' into work when they'd rather spend more time with their children whilst they are young -this is a half formed thought - but perhaps any more along these lines should be accompanied a greater commitment to employees' rights to request part-time/flexible/job share hours.

Italiana Sun 04-Nov-12 10:10:23

A large network of state run nurseries...what a thank you
The present system allow choice to parents: nursery, preschool or c/minder
Only c/ms offer the continuity of care for years to come instead of these poor children changing settings every year!!! I have met children who had 7 different carers in one week!!!
Time to put children first not cost...investment in early years reaps rewards later

Yes of course Wales is is Scotland with their own system
15 hours of free childcare does not allow women to return to work but 25 may do so and that is why it has been proposed...but the govt must fund it and it should be available to all children=universal

Registration for providers has increased quality and accountability...
it is very beaurocratic making childcare expensive but I would not want to return to a deregulated system...those caring and educating children must be accountable...too many parents use 'unregistered' cminders because it is cheaper but at what risk? one accident and those parents have no leg to stand addition unregistered care is illegal so those parents are encouraging it

soundevenfruity Sun 04-Nov-12 10:35:22

State funded childcare does not mean that private providers can't compete. Just as with private/state education private nurseries can fill in the gaps such as continuation of care until the end of primary school, Steiner/Montessori/additional language and such. It would also help primary schools to have children prepared to be in group, listen to teacher etc.
Also is "forced by government" an euphemism for "it would be difficult to justtify staying at home if such childcare was available"? In France where it is customary to send children to a nursery early women choosing to bring up their children are under a lot of pressure to return to work and there is very little when it comes to playgroups etc. Is that what a lot of posters are worried about?

Bonsoir Sun 04-Nov-12 10:39:53

"In France where it is customary to send children to a nursery early women choosing to bring up their children are under a lot of pressure to return to work and there is very little when it comes to playgroups etc."

I live in France and, yes, the pressure on families to put children in a crèche and to return to work is very great. Crèche has become so normalised that people complain that there aren't enough crèche places for 100% of the population (in the way that there are enough schools for 100% of the population).

Italiana Sun 04-Nov-12 10:53:24

A creche in england is different...for instance gyms have a creche while the mothers use the gym the creche looks after is not comparable to a nursery or c/m...don't they have 'ecole maternelle' in France?

soundevenfruity Sun 04-Nov-12 10:56:21

I think Bonsoir uses creche as a general term for preschool childcare not in the English meaning of the word.

notenoughsocks Sun 04-Nov-12 11:03:48

is "forced by government" an euphemism for "it would be difficult to justtify staying at home if such childcare was available"?

Yes, it is. I did not mean it to be euphemistic. I wouldn't choose it myself, but I know that others would like to be able to. I think it should be recognised that some parents would like to spend a significant portion of their time with their children in the early years. I do not perceive children as a luxury that only the wealthiest should feel entitled to. Nor do I do not pereive that staying at home to raise young children is a 'luxury' since raising young children is hard work. I appreciate that some people disagree with my views on this. If universal childcare were available, those in the weakest positions may, indeed, feel forced to take on low paid jobs with long hours and poor prospects. This is my primary concern about the whole idea.

nannynick Sun 04-Nov-12 11:09:17

"A large network of state run nurseries...what a thought"

There could be benefits though:

- Same cost wherever you live
- All working to the same standards, may even all have exactly the same equipment (buying in bulk creates savings)
- Staff are on nationally agreed pay scales, possibly with additional allowances in some areas (like civil service)
- Staff can move from nursery to nursery easier as their work history is known
- All nurseries open the same hours, all close the same days.

But there are negatives as well, such as children being allocated a nursery, parents not getting any choice, people not being allowed to run their own businesses, lots of state control so an unscrupulous government could do all sorts of things... large scale testing of a product/drug on children for example?

It would be bad news for me, it would be bad news for Italiana - as childcare providers we don't work in the nursery sector, so we would be out of work.
I can't see government going down that route - SureStart Nurseries existed, some may still exist and in some areas there are still state nurseries. However most nurseries are private sector, I can't see them all converting to being run by government.

Bonsoir Sun 04-Nov-12 11:29:06

A French crèche is nursery-style childcare from 2 months-3 years. Ecole maternelle is pre-school, from 3 - 6 years.

In England the word "crèche" is widely used to mean what the French call a halte garderie = a drop-in or occasional nursery.

jellybeans Sun 04-Nov-12 11:40:08

I agree with notenoughsocks

jellybeans Sun 04-Nov-12 11:46:39

I am also interested in whether Xenia puts down SAHP to her DC. As it may come back to bite you if they choose to be SAHP! I promote choice to my DCs and encourage them them to be in a position to choose through doing well at school etc.

I think many SAHP would still stay home at least till age 3 even if there was free childcare. Many of my SAHP friends would not use childcare as they don't believe it is good for small kids. I agree though that maybe the government want to make it harder for SAHP to stay home as it then means they probably won't have the 'excuse' that childcare would eat all their earnings any longer. It is no secret that Clegg etc. prefer the Swedish model where the minister freely admits they 'pushed' women into work whether they wanted to or not. Perhaps this is the road they want to take? Either way I don't think it will work. Good childcare is very expensive. It is already being suggested to reduce ratios/quality so who knows how poor it would be to ba able to offer it universally.

Kingsfold Sun 04-Nov-12 11:52:45

"I am dead against state monopolies of anything, but the idea of a state monopoly of childcare sends shivers down my spine and turns my stomach."

Bonsoir, I couldn't agree more.

This whole idea makes my blood boil. Yet another reason why I detest Labour.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Sun 04-Nov-12 12:37:35

As if they could ever afford to do this anyway......pie in the sky.

MainlyMaynie Sun 04-Nov-12 12:48:57

Who says they're proposing a state monopoly on childcare? There is zero chance they would propose that, they're a centre left party with strong ties to business.

Brycie Sun 04-Nov-12 12:59:10

Richman: I agree: it's pointless to consider solutions as if there was a bottomless pit of money to pay for it. It's just fantasising. What' the point.

orangeberries Sun 04-Nov-12 13:04:24

In the country where I come from there is a system of free universal childcare which is based on "points" - you get certain points according to how many hours you work as a family, how much you earn, how many children you have. So if you are well off, both work and have one child you don't stand a chance of getting in. But you wouldn't want to use these nurseries, believe me!

I have seen these settings and they are terrible quality childcare. Having used childcare settings (and quite a number!) in this country, they do not compare well at all. There are virtually no quotas, there are crammed, huge rooms with loads of children of all ages crammed in. Resources are pitiful. Some don't even have an outside space. So what's happened there is that those who can afford it send them to the expensive private nurseries or hire a nanny. Those who can't are stuck with these terrible places.

I much prefer the idea of increasing the 15 hours entitlement to say 20 or 25 hours and keeping the current legislation and standard of care, than having universal, substandard childcare and creating a two tier system of childcare.

dreamingofsun Sun 04-Nov-12 13:37:32

nannynick - your points below sound better for employees than they do customers - i've shown my concerns about each of your points below in order (numbered bits)

Same cost wherever you live
- All working to the same standards, may even all have exactly the same equipment (buying in bulk creates savings)
- Staff are on nationally agreed pay scales, possibly with additional allowances in some areas (like civil service)
- Staff can move from nursery to nursery easier as their work history is known
- All nurseries open the same hours, all close the same days.

1. lets hope the standards would be better than some of the public run children's homes we hear of in the press recently where children are abused
2. so you may be OK in wales where the pay is relatively good compared to local costs/pay, but in london if its the same rate you will only get the dross who can't get any other jobs
3. moving staff = upheavel for my child continually getting used to new people
4. so no ability for me to cover early starts (4am) or late nights (10pm) or for people to work weekends perhaps - ie no flexibility to provide cover, despite jobs often requiring flexibility.

This thread is bonkers

You would think Labour is proposing sending all your children to the gulag

Most likely the current system would not change all that much, there would just be more vouchers and tax changes and incentives for local councils, etc and so on.

The UK pays twice the European average on childcare, which is insane. It's a huge factor in women continuing to lag behind men in the workforce, in positions of power, etc. It's a huge problem for single parents, for carers, students, lots of people.

Yet over here on MN the response is Free childcare? Why no thank you

Fair enough to oppose certain means of implementing it even when these are totally imaginary but really I'm surprised how many people seem to be against the very principle of it.

I also live in France. Cheap childcare is a godsend. No horror stories to share either, sorry.

nannynick Sun 04-Nov-12 13:52:59

dreamingofsun - you are quite right, it's not an ideal thing. Ultimately I don't think Government could ever come up with a system which caters for everyone. A system of state nurseries I feel has already been tried on a small scale - such as some SureStart centres providing daycare plus the existing state nurseries, and I don't think it has worked.

With regard to point 2 I was thinking along the lines of how they do teachers salary, civil servants salary. When I worked in the civil service, I was outside London but got some additional pay for being near London.

I don't see government run childcare working, but is that what they have in France, Belgium, other places?

Maybe they should just increase child benefit - so paying a set amount based on the number of children, leaving parents to decide what they spend that money on. Can't see them doing that either.

Tryharder Sun 04-Nov-12 13:54:01

It is a good idea in principle. I cannot understand why the SAHMs on this thread are so against it. If you have the luxury of not having to work to support your family, then why begrudge this benefit to others who have not had the fortune to bag themselves rich husbands! Talk about mean-spirited...

nannynick Sun 04-Nov-12 13:54:18

"The UK pays twice the European average on childcare" - but do we know WHY that is the case? What is it that makes childcare in the UK more expensive than in other countries?

notenoughsocks Sun 04-Nov-12 13:55:43

Wierd. I seem to be (perceived to be?) coming down on the 'no to universal free childcare' side of the debate. Truthfully, I find this surprising.

I do not share Brycie's views. That is, I realise that there is no endless pot of money, but there are priorities; these can always be challenged and changed. It is not that I believe that universal childcare cannot be 'afforded'.

I am a feminist. I think that women should have the right to work and often the sky high price of quailty childcare makes this difficult. But I also believe in promoting role sharing (why do mothers so often get left to make the choice between work and parenting?) and recognising that parents (usually mothers) work bloody hard for nothing.

The more I think about it, in my 'ideal world', good quality universal childcare would be accompanied by stronger rights to flexible working for men and women (in the hope that this might do more to challenge workplace cultures). Or, indeed, why not provide and additional universal benefit for under-fives which could be spent on childcare, or supplement the income of their carer? I already suggested this upthread. The answer seems 'why pay for something that is already done for nothing?' or 'it would only encourage women to become SAHP's.' This only reinforces my worry that universal childcare might compell parents (mostly mothers) to leave their children against their will whilst they are young in order to take work that most people would never choose.


notenoughsocks Sun 04-Nov-12 14:07:40

dreamingbohemian do you have any figures re: the difference between men and women's pay in France? Also, is it relatively easy to, for example, work for four days a week without losing 'full-time status'?

Smudging Sun 04-Nov-12 14:14:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dreamingofsun Sun 04-Nov-12 14:27:15

childminders here used to get an extra level of vetting and if they passed would be allowed to go on a list made available to council employees. I was really shocked when i heard this as it said to me that the council didn't trust their own vetting procedures.

I used 2 childminders - 1 excellent (who was also on council list) and another who was dreadful - in part because she had a son with Attention Deficit Disorder and therefore had her hands full anyway. when i complained to the council their response was 'well she needed to earn a living so there was nothing they could do'. no concern for the quality of childcare my children received, that i was paying for.

jellybeans Sun 04-Nov-12 14:29:35

'It is a good idea in principle. I cannot understand why the SAHMs on this thread are so against it. If you have the luxury of not having to work to support your family, then why begrudge this benefit to others who have not had the fortune to bag themselves rich husbands! Talk about mean-spirited...'

Not all SAHP's have rich partners! many make sacrifices to stay home. Many, such as myself, cannot work because our husbands work away/shifts that change etc. and they themselves would have to work shifts so could not get childcare even if they wanted to.

HappyMummyOfOne Sun 04-Nov-12 14:32:03

I suspect some are against it if it means the end to child and top up benefits meaning that they would have to manage purely on one salary.

Being a SAHP is a luxury, not having to work whilst another supports you is indeed a luxury. Thousands of children are raised by working parents so there is no reason a child needs to have a parent at home unless disabilities mean childcare is hard to come by.

I dont usually agree with labour policies but offering free or tax deductible childcare instead of benefits can only be good for the economy. Those whose households can support just one adult working can continue to do so and those that make the choice baed on the state paying will have to do what millions of otheers do and work. Children do not mean an end to working. It would send a better message to young girls in that they can do both and that children come with financial responsibilities that are theirs to bear not the states.

notenough no figures sorry, though I believe the income gap is less in France than in the UK.

Obviously income gaps depend on many, many factors. But anecdotally at least, the MN boards are full of women who took a career break to raise children and now can't get back into full-time work, or have to start over in their career.

I think the new move to parental (not maternity) leave, coupled with cheaper or free childcare, would really help women stay in the workforce, maintain their careers, and hopefully reduce hiring discrimination against women.

I think France has a very high proportion of women with children in the workplace, and cheap childcare is a big part of that.

As for four days a week, I don't know how easy it is. But you can get childcare 5 days a week so not sure how relevant that is for everyone.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 04-Nov-12 15:05:24

"free" "universal"

"free" = nothing is free, the money comes from somewhere, what are you personally willing to give up ?

"universal" = to include visitors to the country even the uber rich wives of the world high finance "community" - who would otherwise pay good wages to UK nannies

UK childcare is more expensive than the rest of Europe for one incredibly simple reason.
The UK has set its staff / child ratio much lower than other countries seem to find works just fine

all that is needed is a change in the ratio regulations, and childcare costs fall through the floor, more places are opened up, and no nursery workers lose their jobs

it really is that obvious.

merrymouse Sun 04-Nov-12 15:46:10

Re: state subsidy of childcare, I understand there is a bit of controversy in France at the moment about an austerity budget...

TalkinPeace2 Sun 04-Nov-12 15:53:46

Yeah - its an utterly unaffordable reality

wahey, those whose kids are little will be paid for by those whose kids are big


Make the ratios sensible, or ban internships and make the minimum wage the living wage - £2.45 / hr FFS

Italiana Sun 04-Nov-12 15:59:49

Truss advocates more children in our care, such as 5 under 5 for c/m
I am against it and won't do it ...have you ever looked after more than 3 children of that age?
Our ratios are low and suit parents especially with c/ms. High ratio will not reduce costs...on the contrary it will raise them...fact!

Childcare in Denmark is equally expensive as UK...govt pays 75% parents 25%
If parents had to pay it all it would cost the same. Plenty of statistics out there and all their staff highly qualified and well paid

Childcare has a varied market and plenty of choice...make everyone the same and there would be no competition or need to 'do better'...what is the point of a nursery worker moving to another nursery? to earn the same money?
There are also limited aspirations for some practitioners especially c/ms

Childcare costs are rising for various reasons (have been in childcare 19 years, 8 running my own preschool and 11 as a c/m) during my preschool years fees rose very little
Costs started rising due to regulation and legislation, utilities, food. insurance, paperwork and documentation, red tape...lots of it...having to buy training as LAs charge now or offer repetitive unchallenging training, the Free Entitlement main cause as fees for the hours outside it increased steadily over the last years....better qualified workforce means better pay, minimum wage for nursery staff and so on and so on

Is childcare expensive when a c/m charges... say £5.50 and parents get at least the minimum wages at £6.19 some earn lots more...minimum wage being different to living wage.
Or is it that this govt has cut so many benefits making childcare unaffordable to parents and blaming providers of being expensive?
Cleaners in my area get £10 which parents cannot do without but complain at paying our fees?

We have jumped through many hoops to raise standards and people think we can still earn as we did 7 years ago?
Most providers are women with families and mortgages
On top of that govt wastes a lot of funding in various streams and duplication of services and ridiculous useless schemes, funding LAs and not making them accountable is another waste....

Also 57,000c/ms are self employed therefore small businesses...I don't want to be employed by a nursery and be told how to look after children by a manager with little experience and a NVQ3 (have met many) who probably spends her life doing paperwork and hardly gets near kids?

MainlyMaynie Sun 04-Nov-12 16:14:20

jellybeans, not all the SAHMs are against it. I see myself as a SAHM and am (with caveats) in favour, even though I personally chose not to return to my career and would not use the childcare even if it was free. I just didn't mention that I was a SAHM as I don't think individual personal circumstances particularly matter.

jellybeans Sun 04-Nov-12 16:46:33

i never said they all were against it? It is absolutely fine that some SAHP support the idea even if many of them would never use free childcare. However I still don't think it will ever happen or work due to costs. It won't affect me as my DC will all be school age by the time any proposals would happen which is highly unlikely.

Tanith Sun 04-Nov-12 17:17:46

That is a bit too simplistic. Increasing the ratios means more work for the childcarers, more equipment and resources. I'm not convinced that it would significantly decrease fees.

I think it's a combination of two or three factors: the ratios are 5-7 per adult in some countries, the cost of living and house prices are extremely high here, and childcare in many European countries is more heavily subsidised.

I personally don't see how they will be able to offer free childcare to all when they've already had to shelve plans to increase the free entitlement from 5 to 10 sessions a week.
They can't even fund the 5 sessions adequately: they rely on childcare settings to make up the deficit. Are we expected to subsidise universally free care, too?

DamnBamboo Sun 04-Nov-12 17:36:15

And where is the money for this 'free' childcare meant to come from exactly?

TalkinPeace2 Sun 04-Nov-12 18:12:41

Are you willing to pay Danish rate of Income tax (40% and up basic) - to get your "free" childcare
or do you want it added to the National debt (as Tax credits have been)
or that your children and grandchildren are crippled with tax to pay for what you treated as "free"

there are no other options
tax now
tax later
---- take your pick

Brycie Sun 04-Nov-12 19:20:41

TalkingPeace and DamnBamboo make exactly the right point: it's futile talking about this without talking about where the money will come from. It's like talking about what you'd do if you won the lottery.

MainlyMaynie Sun 04-Nov-12 19:36:40

People have been talking about where the money would come from. It could actually be a conservative policy if it was introduced the right way i.e. abolish all tax credits and child benefits, but offer free (at the point of delivery) childcare. Encourage people to work, while removing support for those who don't.

Policy is a lot more complex than tax and spend or cut taxes. If measures stimulate the economy, they increase the overall tax base and individuals don't need to pay higher percentage tax. It would be quite complex econometrics to work out both the financial and social implications of this policy.

jellybean sorry, referred to you when I meant someone else's post in my previous post.

Tanith Sun 04-Nov-12 19:46:45

The problem with removing support and offering free childcare for those that work is that you penalise those who cannot work or cannot find jobs.

Those feckless lazy benefit scroungers are far bigger in imagination than in fact.
Remove benefits from already struggling families, and it's the children who ultimately suffer.

WidowWadman Sun 04-Nov-12 20:30:35

Tanith do you think then that a situation where going to work ends up being a luxury, as after costs you're worse off working than you would be on benefits is tenable or even desirable?

morethanpotatoprints Sun 04-Nov-12 22:16:04


That would be good if there were jobs for people who wanted to work . So what would happen to the lower earners who still pay tax, albeit less than the hr tax payers?
I do think 2 parents working is a luxury if they can't afford childcare. If a whole wage is paying for childcare that person is hardly helping the economy in terms of spending power.
A life of one parent working and one as a sahp is certainly desirable to those who have chosen to do it.

WidowWadman Sun 04-Nov-12 23:09:21

"If a whole wage is paying for childcare that person is hardly helping the economy in terms of spending power."

So somebody spending money on childcare is not spending? How's that?

If two people go out to work, pay taxes and NI, and pay a provider for childcare, who again pays taxes and NI that's worse for the economy than only one person working, their partner staying at home, and the childcare provider having less business. How?

morethanpotatoprints Mon 05-Nov-12 00:00:05


I didn't say it was worse, it just isn't any better. The childcare workers I know are mainly part time and don't pay tax btw.
One person working on min wage can quite often have and spend a higher disposable income than 2 working when one wage is spent on childcare. The sahps that I am in contact have between £600 and £1000 disposable income a month. Completely to do with as they please. I know families with dual income with nothing left.

Tanith Mon 05-Nov-12 00:00:42

WidowWadman, that's nothing to do with the point I am making.

Do you think it's fair to abandon children to poverty and starvation because their parents are unable to work? It's certainly not the type of society I want to live in!

Particularly when many of those who would receive free childcare could afford to pay for it.

WidowWadman Mon 05-Nov-12 06:41:20

morethan "One person working on min wage can quite often have and spend a higher disposable income than 2 working when one wage is spent on childcare. The sahps that I am in contact have between £600 and £1000 disposable income a month. Completely to do with as they please. I know families with dual income with nothing left. "

I know that - and I think that's very wrong. Help with childcare is a way out of that situation.

If you work in a crap 'menial' job then that happens anyway, free childcare would still help. The problem would be when/if it is set alongside 'now everyone can/will have to work'.

MainlyMaynie Mon 05-Nov-12 08:26:11

morethan, I think the idea would be that the spending on childcare created jobs and thus stimulated growth, in a positive cycle. In grand economic terms, the individual paying their whole wage in childcare doesn't matter, it is the fact they are spending that matters.

This is not what I think, it is just an illustration of how this proposal could be a conservative policy. I actually think we should make it as easy as possible for a parent to stay at home with a very young child if they want to, while making it as easy as possible for both parents to work if they want to. I'm not sure what the best solution to that is, but in the right context free childcare could be part of it.

Italiana Mon 05-Nov-12 12:03:46

If the minimum wage (some are even paid below this) became the living wage many families would not need to receive extra benefits because they earn so little now and childcare is not affordable to them
High quality has to have a price
It is the funding streams that need reforming and all workers paid fairly...go after those employers who pay poorly and half the problem would be solved

SquealyB Mon 05-Nov-12 12:13:54

This policy would be of overall benefit to the economy and the cost would be met (and exceeded) by the tax contibutions of the second working parents. And getting the second parent back to work has been advocated by thinktanks looking at stimulating economic growth in the economy more generally.

In London childcare costs are just ridiculous (we are expecting out first at looking at £1200 p/c/m). The availability of free childcare would empower more people (not just women) so they can choose whether to be a SAHP (which is an amazingly important job) or to be a working parent and not have that choice taken away from them by virtue of outrageous childcare costs. The current system disproportionately impacts on women's ability to choose to go back to work .

However, I fail to see why we wait until children are 3 to provide any subsidied childcare to anyone but those on a low income. What happens between 1 and 3?? But that is another thread entirely....

Yorkpud Mon 05-Nov-12 12:54:37

I'm not sure really. It would be good if the free 15 hours came in after maternity leave finished for those who decide to return to work or after 3 years like it is now for those who don't work.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 05-Nov-12 12:58:28

tax contributions of the second working parents
you are assuming that there will be enough jobs to go round that earn enough to pay the taxes greater than the cost of providing the child care

I see no evidence to support that assumption

the VAST majority of mothers already go out to work
the concept of a SAHM who does not depend upon benefits only exists in wealthy enclaves mainly in London and planet Mumsnet

elkiedee Mon 05-Nov-12 13:01:33

First, regarding the dismissive comments about state childcare, the council nurseries in my area are great, and offer high quality paid for childcare at a lower rate than the private nurseries, though it's still a lot of money.

As for the option of free childcare or more subsidised childcare, as well as wrap around care, would give working parents more options - I worked full time after having children until I was made redundant (nearly 3 years after returning to work from maternity leave the 2nd time) and am now using part time childcare while I try to start freelancing from home. My parents are actually paying most of the cost of this at the moment (they're not together but are both contributing), and my dad helps us out a bit with other extras (I'm very lucky, I know). DS2 is at the local school nursery class and that's free but it's just every morning (15 hours as 3 hours a day), and so that doesn't actually reduce the costs of using a childminder. Next year when DS2 starts school, I will probably try to find work outside the home - having to cover costs of nearly £300 a week before I bring anything home won't make sense for temping, it barely made sense for a permanent job but I stayed because it would have got easier if I'd remained in employment, from September 2013.

Also, if childcare costs were free or even considerably reduced, part time work to spend more time with the children would be easier, and that could offer more flexibility.

I'm quite annoyed that those of you who have the choice to be SAHMs want to deny choices to those of us who can't afford or don't want to be at home full time. Because that's how I interpret a lot of the most vocal contributors to this thread.

I'm also annoyed by people who see such proposals as an attack on money no object childcare. I'm lucky to have been able to find a childminder whose rates were only about 40% of my take home pay (for one child) when I first went back to work, and that she turned out to be an excellent choice as well as being more affordable than any nursery. Council nurseries at that point would have been 50%, private nurseries would have been 75-100+%. There are a lot of not really by choice SAHMs in this area.

Finally, if you're concerned about quality then I think the Tories' proposals put forward by the likes of Elizabeth Truss are REALLY scary - deregulate CMs and allow them to look after more children. There are reasons for the ratios as they are at present.

SquealyB Mon 05-Nov-12 14:12:07

I'm afraid comments regarding regarding the "vast" majority of mothers working at the moment are incorrect. In recent years the number of women with children who go back to work has been in decline and the UK is behind many developed countries in this respect (see recent report from the Comission on Living Standards which refers to this issue regarding women in general and notes that this falls even further for women with children).

As for childcare options, the majority of the country trusts the state to educate their children from 4 onwards and yet I am suprised that there is hostility from so many toward state nurseries. Seems like a bit of a contradiction.

As for the taxes costs argument, unless there is the demand (i.e. people who will be going back to work with enough income to make it worthwhile) there will be no reason to supply the childcare so not like there is any wasted costs from this perspective.

Finally I echo the fact that it a bit disappointing that people are willing to be so restrictive/vocal about a policy that may improve other women's lot even if it will not have a direct impact on themselves. IF it can be shown NOT to be a net costs to the economy (even if it does not provide an actual uplift) then I cannot see why people would be against this policy unless they believe that all women should be a home with the baby regardless of circumstance.

Xenia Mon 05-Nov-12 14:16:55

The Libs Dems are looking at this.
Generally states do it when they need to. They pulled out all the stops during WWII. Women loved it - all that social stuff working in factories, freed from babies at home all day.

Then the war was over we didn't need women working and they were all carted back home to get back on the gin or valium and slowly die inside - although not all as my mother was fond to remind my father she supported him for over 10 years when he was a medical student and was the first woman in her area to claim the married man's tax allowance as a woman.

I doubt there is a business case for free childcare as we are not short of workers.

A lot of new jobs are part time and going to women so one interesting issue is whether if more and more men are stuck at home not happy they will push for free childcare. Miriam Gonzalez a lawyer who well out earns her husband Mr Clegg is a good exampel of a modern working c ouple. Clegg earns much less so you don't do anything to spoil MG's career as that brings home the real bacon.

MainlyMaynie Mon 05-Nov-12 14:37:00

Of course there are plenty of SAHMs not dependent on benefits. Some women want to stay at home with their children and have husbands who earn enough for them to do so. Largely irrelevant to this debat though, as these are people who can afford childcare and free childcare would not affect their decision.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 05-Nov-12 15:25:15

According to Government Statistics
67% of mothers work
and once you add on all of those not in work but on benefits (including disability and carers)
there are very few SAHMs who could go out to work magically

its a myth
and the jobs are not there

MrsSalvoMontalbano Mon 05-Nov-12 15:34:52

Have not yet read teh whole thread, buy I think this is an excellent idea - just like free universal school provision has been available for many years. Its not complusory - you don;t have to use it, but its there if you need it or want it. Fo children form very deprived or chaotic backgrounds it would be a godsend. And as a higher tate tax payer (whose Dc are too old to benefit) I am very happy to pay for it - might even make me vote labour!
And, yes it would provide jobs for nursery workers

Xenia Mon 05-Nov-12 16:09:02

Also those benefits mothers who never work and say oh I could not possibly leave a 12 year old to work when some of us have left 2 week year olds to go back to work full time having an excuse about childcare. We could say okay free childcare so you work or we could even have it where they work so if they are breastfeeding they can pop in to feed the baby as needed. Mind you few of those ones breastfeed anyway and we hvae the worst breastfeeding rates in Europe particularly amongst the unwaged sadly.

MainlyMaynie Mon 05-Nov-12 16:14:01

Less than 30% of UK mothers are in full-time work. Unless you have conducted proper research, you can't know whether there is demand to work more or not, except on a purely anecdotal basis.

WidowWadman Mon 05-Nov-12 18:25:21

Meanwhile in Germany the conservative party is pushing through the "Herdpraemie" (kitchen bonus), where parents (read: mothers) are paid €150 a month if they choose not to take up a nursery place for their toddler.

Allegedly this is, because there's not enough nursery places. A more progressive party might have looked at investing that money into nursery places, but it fits into their ideology.

Xenia Mon 05-Nov-12 18:45:56

Kinder, Kuche and Kirche

WidowWadman Mon 05-Nov-12 18:52:23

xenia, exactly. After all it's the Christian Conservative Party. I add it to the list of reasons why I wouldn't want to go back.

scottishmummy Mon 05-Nov-12 20:17:35

ons 2011 29%mums work ft,37.4% mums work pt.minority women housewife don't work
the initiative is probably aimed at the least at 37.4% pt workers,to increase hours
may also help those can't afford childcare to get into employment by accessible childcare

TalkinPeace2 Mon 05-Nov-12 20:22:08

but I don't WANT to work full time
and nor do many mums - they like to work - to have their own money
but why force yourself to do all the shopping and cleaning at the weekend if you don't have to

scottishmummy Mon 05-Nov-12 20:28:54

no one is compelling you to work ft?,you presumably chose pt mode working certainly not overwhelmed at w'end.careful planning,share tasks,do wee bit as go long
I value the satisfaction and salary I get from working,and think it's positive role model to dc

WidowWadman Mon 05-Nov-12 20:46:55

talkin "but why force yourself to do all the shopping and cleaning at the weekend if you don't have to"

Que? If you share the shopping and cleaning equally with your partner, then you don't have to do it all at the weekend. Plus the general assumption that the shopping and cleaning is your job disappears.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 05-Nov-12 21:09:21

we both work part time
I came in from yoga today to a wholly hoovered and mopped house ....
we are fasting today so he kept himself busy!
I love the fact that I make a good living and have not needed paid child care for many many years

scottishmummy Mon 05-Nov-12 21:12:08

talkin why do you assume I do the domestic chores at weekend
is this some kind if its womens work thing,hence i do it at weekend
I have a partner he pitches in equally.I expect nothing less.we share parenting and chores

TalkinPeace2 Mon 05-Nov-12 21:13:45

I'm assuming nothing about anybody, just saying what I did when I worked full time .... and why I won't go back to it.

scottishmummy Mon 05-Nov-12 21:15:32

why did you do it all?was your dp frail?unable to do domestics
so now you do it all?and have no job
how's that work as a good trade off

TalkinPeace2 Mon 05-Nov-12 21:17:58

you are not reading my posts. I do not have no job. read what I said at 21.09

EldonAve Mon 05-Nov-12 21:19:50

tax deductible childcare would be a step in the right direction

I am currently SAHM
I would like to work but childcare costs are too high

TalkinPeace2 Mon 05-Nov-12 21:22:57

? it already partly is ?

EldonAve Mon 05-Nov-12 21:24:53

no it isn't

TalkinPeace2 Mon 05-Nov-12 21:28:46

well, childcare vouchers come off before tax, and employers get to deduct it so it benefits maintaining employment
and if it was made individually deductible, you'd be back in the loop that they are breaking with self employed tax credits

WidowWadman Mon 05-Nov-12 21:59:09

Childcare Vouchers are capped at a ridiculously low amount

TalkinPeace2 Mon 05-Nov-12 22:05:36

that is true
and brings me back to one of my earliest points

UK childcare is expensive because our child / staff ratios are smaller than those of any other country

Italiana Mon 05-Nov-12 23:53:14

I feel our ratio is correct for your children, those under 5...but I don't feel it is the reason childcare is it expensive? or is it that compared to other countries it is not funded by the govt to the same level and parents bear the whole cost?
Our fees reflect the high quality and qualifications achieved over the last few years as we were asked to any professions qualifcations/expertise get remunerated...why not for childcare?

The living wage has been proposed today...will it benefit parents and providers alike? and will it affect the cost of childcare?

BoffinMum Tue 06-Nov-12 07:41:37

Italiana, it would be interesting to calculate whether many women earn the living wage after childcare costs have been deducted. Bet vast numbers don't.

ByTheWay1 Tue 06-Nov-12 11:54:04

the living wage thing is a lovely principle - but like anything else will mean employers employing less people and expecting them to do more work for their money... it would affect both the cost of childcare and probably put pressure on government to change ratios - these things are all interlinked... it will also reduce wages for some - why pay more than a living wage if you can get staff to work for it.... same as the minimum wage did in some areas.

Xenia Tue 06-Nov-12 12:41:17

Yes, but the idea we take the childcare costs off women or that women do housework at weekends and not men is what annoys those of us who don't tolerate sexism and seems weird to us. You take childcare costs 50% off the man and 50% off the woman and you do as much as each other at home.

Most people in the UK earn about £25k a year. in the years when they need childcare particularyl for under 5s for say 3 chidlren under 5 that is 2 nursery places (about £250 a week per child = £39k out of tax income) or the option we used full time daily nanny looking after the 3 under 5s in our house much cheaper or 3 child minder places - and then divide that between the couple. Given if you don't ditch your career some women and men will end up earning loads over the next 40 years and if they give up work in their 20s and just have the chance of minimum wage jobs later, it can be very foolish to give up the career whatever your gender. You don't just do the maths now but uin the future too,.

If however you are a cleaner on the minimum wage with no qualification and realise you are never going to earn anything much and have no ambition then yet your husband in that position or you might well decide work does not pay and stay at home.

Italiana Tue 06-Nov-12 13:40:37

The govt cannot force a higher ratio....5 under 5 may be proposed but it does not mean that it is compulsory.....
Increasing the ratio of children also means more staff where you are getting the revenue in it goe in wages except for c/ms who will be putting children at risk

Does anyone see childcare or early years as an investment rather than a cost?
why do other countries invest in children then send them to school at 6? because it pays off by having to intervene less later

Living wage is being done voluntarily in many areas and the reports before condemning something unless you prefer the minimum wage...which altogh legal many do not pay

those parents who receive benefits towards childcare are on low wages...surely the living wage means they would get less benefits because their income rises?

TalkinPeace2 Tue 06-Nov-12 16:52:40

Most people in the UK earn about £25k a year
the median wage in the UK is £18k
less than 38% of the country have an income of £25k or over

The govt cannot force a higher ratio
no, but it can relax the rules forcing such a low one and nurseries - who are businesses after all - will quickly cut costs by changing the ratio

VintageRainBoots Tue 06-Nov-12 17:14:10

"less than 38% of the country have an income of £25k or over..."

Wow. How does anyone make it on £25K or less?

TalkinPeace2 Tue 06-Nov-12 17:22:39

50% of the country live on £18k or less

welcome to the real world

Italiana Tue 06-Nov-12 18:51:46

The EYFS 2012 already allows c/ms to care for more children....see page 21, does not mean that all are rushing to it...some have tried and now regretting it
The high ratio is in 'exceptional circumstances' and for short periods not all the time
In nurseries if the the number of children is higher they need more lose out that way...yes of course a desperate govt can do what it wants does not mean we will all follow like lambs...that is what representing associations are against

Maybe we are losing track of the fact we are talking about children ...we are all businesses, c/ms included, and we should be against all this simply because someone has decided childcare is too it when some are paid so low? work it out

Italiana Tue 06-Nov-12 18:55:37

In addition the funding for 'disadvantaged' children is for families earning about £16,000 (one of the criteria) parents a living wage and they would not qualify in reality paying better wages saves on benefits...rocket science it is not !!

Xenia Tue 06-Nov-12 20:43:19

As I ghaev said on other threads in many parts of the country if you have a low income it is made up by the state to what higher earners earn and the low paid seem to walk around thinking higher earners ave much better off but they have absolutely no idea what you end up with in terms of net pay if you are on say £50k, pay tax and a full time childcare place and commuting costs and a mortgage on a tiny flat in the SE.

Italiana Tue 06-Nov-12 21:01:07

No...low paid do not get help to get an income equal to high earners...remember all benfits have been cut and we actually have food banks...shameful!
I have never heard low earners say you are better off...some just get on and suffer the guilt they are made to feel...some are called scroungers when in fact they are struggling

You have commuting cost I, as a c/ms, have expenses such as food, petrol, utilities and lots of red tape.... so it is balanced

morethanpotatoprints Tue 06-Nov-12 21:41:33


Many Many thanks. I wasn't aware of this fact and as a v. low income family ourselves, fell into the trap of presuming everybody was better off than us.
Whether two parents working or one seems irrelevant when faced with the fact that people do and can survive on 18k.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 06-Nov-12 21:48:28

MN is a very wealthy bubble - there are more Eton parents on these boards than there are boys at Eton wink

The median HOUSEHOLD income (ie half the households have less than and half have more than) is £26k
and that includes tax credits

the median (middle, rather than average) personal wage in London is £23k
so all these people saying they are poor because they are losing CB are talking carp - they are in the top 20% of earners
the fact that they have taken on expenditure to use up that income is their choice

stand tall, work hard, you'll be fine.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 06-Nov-12 22:04:15


You are great at figures are you a mathematician smile?
I was feeling really poor and woe is me tonight until I read your facts. I now realise that we are not so bad after all. grin

TalkinPeace2 Tue 06-Nov-12 22:10:29

Accountant ...
with a serious google habit for finding statistics :-)

BoffinMum Tue 06-Nov-12 22:33:46

Have a play with this lovely little online tool.

Where do you fit in?

BoffinMum Tue 06-Nov-12 22:37:32

I think there are some serious questions regarding the fact that if the top 10% are finding childcare costs and commuting costs pretty eye watering, as well as eldercare, then whether the marketised economy has become seriously skewed in favour of the wrong things.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 06-Nov-12 22:38:52

That tool is just WONDERFUL
should be checked by EVERY poster before they say they feel poor.

BoffinMum Tue 06-Nov-12 23:11:30

I know, I know, it's practically statistics PORN!

But I would add that it doesn't take into account regional variations plus other fixed outgoings that allow people to earn that kind of money in the first place, so don't be too hard on the people who are anxious.

VintageRainBoots Tue 06-Nov-12 23:15:26

Boffin: "Where do you fit in?"

Wow. We're at the tail-end of that distribution, which is kind of scary. I feel like we're just making it---not struggling, but not awash in extra cash, either---and most British are worse off than us.

I don't know if I feel embarrassed, or ashamed, or what...

BoffinMum Tue 06-Nov-12 23:16:58

For example, if you fiddle the thing a bit and roll up your council tax, 2 kids in nursery and 2 season tickets as fixed costs that most of the population won't have, then a couple earning the median wage for London (£26k each) start to look pretty hard up, actually, with 2/3 of the population better off.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 06-Nov-12 23:46:59

I have just done this myself and its weird in our circumstance. grin. Dh is a company director (very small business). If I give business income we are well rich 2nd decile. If I give his personal actual income and our benefits wer'e the poorest of the poor. So to make myself feel much better I'm going with the business profit. grin

morethanpotatoprints Tue 06-Nov-12 23:53:38


I know what you are saying. We are really bottom end but it seems as though we are much better off as we have hardly any major out goings.
Only have one car, mortgage paid off, no childcare, and all work expenses are tax deductable (I think).
To some they couldn't survive on our basic min wage but if you have relatively few out goings and a good accountant smile its possible. Just a joke about the accountant, I like to be able to sleep at night. grin

BoffinMum Wed 07-Nov-12 07:42:09

I had a period as a single mum on a lowish teacher's salary in a housing association shared ownership flat. I was able to live very comfortably in a chi chi area of London, with practically no domestic repair bills. I had a newish Nissan Micra with a good warranty and free insurance initially, so minimal bills there as well, and I didn't need to use it very often because London has loads of public transport. Utilities were cheaper than in the smaller flat I had rented, because everything was new and efficient. If I needed dental care, the area was stuffed full of high quality NHS dentists to sort me out. We had excellent shops and supermarkets nearby, as well as a daily street market, so food was cheap. I lived a very nice life, thank you.

Roll forward to 2012 and all my earnings go into a large mortgage for a large but painfully cheaply built family home (thanks developers) a very long way from where I work (thanks, town planners), childcare (thanks, New Labour), commuting costs (thanks, privatised rail companies), dentistry (eg specialist root canal work - thanks, New Labour and successive Conservative Governments) and specialist physiotherapy (disability - ditto). A lot of these costs are artificially high because there has been a complete decoupling of cost from typical income, often where Government meddling has failed.

So to see a specialist endodontist in East Anglia, for example, I am forced to go private, for the simple reason that we don't have a dental school so I am not in the catchment area for referral. I attend a ridiculously posh dentists with a waiting room grander than a boutique hotel and a built in bean to cup cappuccino machine for the receptionists, who all have designer uniforms. All the latest papers and journals are in the sitting room, which also has a designer fireplace. What an unholy waste of patients' money that all is. We are there for good quality dentistry but it's been subverted into all this conspicuous excess. And my alternative NHS option would be to lose several of my teeth, apparently, according to the NHS dentist at my workplace. Currently I am shelling out £1000 each time I get a problem, therefore.

If we were able to strip out branding and profit from the provision of public services, and streamline costs properly, I think we would all see our money go a lot further, and we'd feel more affluent. Meanwhile, squeezed middle doesn't even begin the explain what most of us feel like.

Bonsoir Wed 07-Nov-12 10:01:06

Did you choose to go and live where you do, BoffinMum, or was it forced upon you by circumstances beyond your control? A lot of your costs seem to be driven by where you live.

BoffinMum Wed 07-Nov-12 10:20:13

It's a little complicated, but essentially I had to follow the work. I moved up here as that was a requirement at the time, then I was made unexpectedly redundant and ended up having to travel a long distance to a new job -they offered a relocation allowance but it only covered a fraction of the real costs and I would effectively have been working for six months for free to cover the rest, on a post that wasn't going to be confirmed for three years, so highly risky to uproot. I'm a university lecturer so I have to work in institutions with a department in my subject.

Xenia Wed 07-Nov-12 10:36:14

I said the average pay was £25k. I was told it is utter bilge and of course as ever I am 100% accurate

Anyway the bottom line is low pay people with families get tax credits and housing benefit. Those just above them get less so they end up both on the same net receipts.

Xenia Wed 07-Nov-12 10:37:46

Glad to see Talkinp takes my view that it is absolute poverty that matters not relative!

BoffinMum Wed 07-Nov-12 10:46:14

Mode - Most popular salary if you list all the salaries in the country, probably a lot lower than 25k range
Median - Salary level bang in the middle if you list the salary of every single person in the country, that's probably the one in the mid-20k range
Mean - arithmetic average salary, easily skewed by high end salaries, so particularly in London the average will be a lot higher there (most of that attributable to Xenia's salary, I think) winkgrin

merrymouse Wed 07-Nov-12 10:46:59

Apart from the point that "the feel wealthy" element of having higher earnings can be wiped out by life circumstances (e.g. caring for parents/children, additional costs of disability), and seriously limited by the cost of working (e.g. travel, child care), the more money you earn, generally the more money you spend on boring things, e.g. pensions, insurance, home maintenance.

Obviously it's nice to be able to afford higher pension contributions in theory, but I think that these days you have to be super rich to assume that higher pension contributions will definitely ensure financial security in old age. Equally boring home maintenance like a new roof tends to make you feel poor. (Although it is nice to be dry).

BoffinMum Wed 07-Nov-12 10:49:36

More sophisticated data source here

Office of National Statistics

BoffinMum Wed 07-Nov-12 10:53:17

"For the tax year ending 5 April 2011 the median gross annual earnings for full-time employees were
£26,100. For men, the figure was £28,400, while for women the figure was £22,600".

So they have combined the salaries of Mr and Mrs Average to come up with the arbitrary figure of £50k for withdrawal of child benefit ... however there is absolutely no allowance made for regional variations, so the couple on this kind of money in South Wales or the North East will be a lot more affluent than a similar couple in Croydon on the same income, simple because of fixed overheads of going to work. I think that is my main problem with the policy.

Xenia Wed 07-Nov-12 10:53:45

BM, made me laugh and I just did the test and was very disappointed it only went up to top 1%....

My point on these issues is that as a single mother in full time work on £50,000 with a loan on a £150k flat in Luton to pay and £13,000 nursery fees a year for one child only, no maintenance from the father and commuting in you have about the same net income as a benefits claimant mother in Luton and your flat may well not be much nicer than hers. That is what the poor don't realise. They see this £50k figure and forget that you pay heaps of tax on that .

Miss 50k pays

£14,219 tax
£13,000 full time nursery place Let us assume she has one child
£13,500 repayment mortgage 150,000 5% 25 years
£2000 train fares

Total £42,719

Net £7281 = £140 a week. that is less than if you use benefits calculators for single mothers. She might get a tax credit though but even so miss big bucks £50k is about on the same net as mis lazy on benefits after work and housing costs.

Howeer if she can get promotion to £100k and in 25 years she will have paid off her mortgage so live rent free and also in about 5 years she will have no childcare or not so much to pay for so all in all I would argue work always pays.

We will leave her to make a packed lunch, not buy work clothes or socialise at work but she may need some childcare costs and she will get no council tax benefit unlike her idle twin on benefits. We will assume she pays nothing into a pension and opts out of the new rules.

BoffinMum Wed 07-Nov-12 10:56:52

Work pays simply because women sitting around at home are statistically more likely to suffer poor health and discrimination.

LifesAHappySong Wed 07-Nov-12 18:17:39

Why do some people assume that being a SAHM is a 'luxury'? My DH is on a pretty good salary but we don't get any extra help in tax credits etc, live in one of the most expensive areas of the country and have very high commuting costs. We really struggle some months. If I were to return to work I'd be about a couple of hundred pounds a month better off after childcare. But with the additional costs of working eg petrol, clothes, etc, let alone the loss of flexibility you do need with a small child, it's really not worth it. When baby no. 2 comes along it definitely won't be. The government needs to sort out this ludicrous situation where some women are penalised for their husbands' seemingly high earnings (which are not always so in reality as explained by Xenia above) so they can't return to work, whilst other women are forced into work for the sake of receiving tax credits etc when they would rather look after their own children than be paid a pittance for a job they dont want to do and has no prospects and topped up in ctc/ wtc etc for someone else to look after them.

Xenia Wed 07-Nov-12 18:25:04

..and remember some women earn 2xz and 10x their husbands as I did so we could change the text above to

"some men are penalised for their wives' seemingly high earnings .. so they can't return to work whilst other men are forced into work for the sake of receiving tax credits etc..."

Let us not be sexist. In 2013 lots of women out earn men. In fact under 30 women do earn more than men.

LifesAHappySong Wed 07-Nov-12 18:26:50

Fair point. I totally agree, unfortunately though it is women who are disproportionately affected by this. Whether this is a pay gap issue or biological issue i.e. women have babies and breastfeed, I don't know. But yes it definitely applies both ways.

Bonsoir Wed 07-Nov-12 19:38:33

There is a school of thought that says that parenting, and managing relationships, ought to be easy and fall into place without much thought or effort. Any other situation is "wrong".

Personally I don't subscribe to that theory at all. Develop your children in the modern world unconsciously at your peril (same goes for your relationship with your partner) smile

morethanpotatoprints Thu 08-Nov-12 00:20:04

Well I would rather work at my family relationships, keep my loving husband happy as this in return keeps me happy. I believe it is a biological issue for the maternal amongst us. Some women have no qualms about working and using childcare, others would rather die than leave their dc. We are all different. The nicest thing my older dss have said to me is they really appreciate the sacrifices we made for them and the fact we didn't use childcare and were always there if they needed us. Thats the best feeling of satisfaction and appreciation we could have hoped for. So not every woman is interested in working or careers and childcare. It doesn't make us boring, or mean we have a life of drudgery, it is very fullfilling for some.

WidowWadman Thu 08-Nov-12 07:05:31

morethan whoopdeedo, don't you have a lovely life?

You know what, working full time and having a loving relationship with a happy husband and happy children is not mutually exclusive.

And your children telling you how much they appreciate that you didn't use childcare? Now there's a surprise, being raised in the belief that childcare is inferior at best and really incompatible with being there for your children....

If you're happy with your choice, that's great and all, but that doesn't mean that it's the only or best choice. And it's pretty damn awful if it ceases being a choice but families are forced into that set up because working incurrs more costs than not working.

I find your smugness quite offensive to be honest.

Italiana Thu 08-Nov-12 09:27:40

We are deviating a lot from the original question 'is universal free childcare the solution'?
Some parents use childcare others don' some stage even non working mums use pre school education to get children 'ready' for the school environmemt..even if at 3 years it is a bit too early

lets have some positive constructive suggestions on how you feel childcare should be addressed

morethanpotatoprints Thu 08-Nov-12 10:49:13


I'm sorry if I hit a nerve, I was responding to the post above which spoke about sustaining and developing relationships. Which in my book are affected if you are not there for that person/ those people, but are running round like headless chickens, trying to be all things to all people including your boss. Because I think sustaining relationships, bringing your children up yourself are mutually exclusive, you think I'm smug. No, I'm just happy and so are my family.

ElenMumsnetBloggers (MNHQ) Thu 08-Nov-12 13:01:39

Just want to add this excellent post by a single mum into the mix - she blogs about the benefit trap that affects lots of single parents who can't afford to pay for full-time childcare...

Bonsoir Thu 08-Nov-12 13:22:20

That's a good blog post. But focusing on the problems that single parents face when trying to make a profit after the costs of working detracts, IMVHO, from the wider issue of any parent trying to make a profit after factoring in the full the costs of working. Second earners who return to work often do so at little or no profit (and even at a loss).

The issue of making work pay in a society that expects huge availability from workers, with correspondingly reduced availability for family responsibilities, is a massive and widespread one.

WidowWadman Thu 08-Nov-12 18:59:16

"but focusing on the problems that single parents face when trying to make a profit after the costs of working detracts, IMVHO, from the wider issue of any parent trying to make a profit after factoring in the full the costs of working. Second earners who return to work often do so at little or no profit (and even at a loss)."

What bonsoir says is very true.

Xenia Thu 08-Nov-12 19:09:30

First of all you must split the cost of childcare between the two workers (where there are two of you) and then look at the long term investment - we worked at a loss one of us for a year and nearly 30 years on amazing riches have flown from that both in terms of relationships with chidlren and in terms of money; obviously if someone will never get no at work over 230 years because they have few qualifications or are pretty useless or not hard working then it may not be worth putting the effort into work).

On this one: "Well I would rather work at my family relationships, keep my loving husband happy as this in return keeps me happy. I believe it is a biological issue for the maternal amongst us. Some women have no qualms about working and using childcare, others would rather die than leave their dc. We are all different. The nicest thing my older dss have said to me is they really appreciate the sacrifices we made for them and the fact we didn't use childcare and were always there if they needed us. Thats the best feeling of satisfaction and appreciation we could have hoped for. So not every woman is interested in working or careers and childcare. It doesn't make us boring, or mean we have a life of drudgery, it is very fullfilling for some. "

(a) Gosh I am so maternal and worked full time. I adored breastfeeding, bonding, all those hours of just staring at such a gorgeous baby but those of us who are successful and can manage work and home (many women are pretty incompetent so cannot ) combine that with work and being home. Enjoying work does not mean you are not maternal.

(b) Also most parents who work are always there if their children need them. My oldest 3 have graduated. They would say they have benefited hugely from working parents.

Obviously it is good if children are pleased with how things are and many children of working mothers adore that their mothers have successful careers, love to talk about the work , I do genuinely love having the work issues in common with my daughters now and look at the sexism in the post if i turn it around - would you say this about a man?

Some men have no qualms about working and using childcare, others would rather die than leave their dc. We are all different. The nicest thing my older dss have said to me is they really appreciate the sacrifices we made for them and the fact we didn't use childcare and were always there if they needed us. Thats the best feeling of satisfaction and appreciation we could have hoped for. So not every man is interested in working or careers and childcare. It doesn't make us boring, or mean we have a life of drudgery, it is very fullfilling for some. "

morethanpotatoprints Thu 08-Nov-12 19:38:27

Wow Xenia.

I knew you worked in magic, but being in two places at once. Bringing your children up whilst working at the same time. Now thats magic. Oh you are so funny grin. I forgot working parents have skills of teleporting themselves between home and work, to be there for their kids full time.

When men give birth to babies, I might start taking your comments on sexism seriously.
So how did you manage to do all this xenia and of course keep a loving marriage together?

Xenia Thu 08-Nov-12 19:51:04

So don't you think fathers bring up children? This is weird. Of coruse working parents bring up their children. We don't send them to China for 18 years and then see them.

Don't the housewives on the thread send children to nursery school and then full time school at 4? Do you see that as not bringing them up? Do you do attachment parenting and home schooling and sleep with the child skin on skin every night?

morethanpotatoprints Thu 08-Nov-12 21:34:06


I do H.ed yes, but no I don't do attachment parenting. Some dads do sah to bring up children, I know a couple. One is a single parent the other sah as his wife earns more than he did. They both see the value in raising their children themselves without intervention from other parties, of course excepting school. Alot of children don't go to nursey, mine didn't. Many parents opt for pre school prior to starting school.
I don't think working parents send their children to China, a nanny, child minder or nursery nurse raises them whilst their parents work, don't they?
If both parents work full time and dcs care is provided for the majority of hours during the day by somebody else, the parents are hardly raising their dc, obviously.
Now theres nothing wrong with this if this is your choice, but please don't try and make out you do the same as a sahp and work full time. Unless as I suggested you are a magician.

Xenia Thu 08-Nov-12 21:46:01

It always felt quite a lot of hours to me. Babies get up at 5. You have it permanently attached breastfeeding until you leave at 8am and you're back at 6 and it is cuddling up against you for hours. Home at 6 . I never felt the hours were few (but then we never really had sleeping babies) and then you're with them all weekend. I still regard it as bringing up. Do you think your husband does not bring up his children then?

Also doesn't a child gain hugely from having several influences in its life? I am sure our 5 have.

Plenty of mothers are home pretty much ignore their chidlren and do an awful job. You just cannot generalise.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 08-Nov-12 22:05:28

Why wouldn't they have several influences in their life if they had a sahp.
If you think a few hours a day is a lot of raising your children think what all day is like. That's raising children.
Yes my dh helps to raise his children, we do it between us. One of us is responsible for them at different times. We jointly raise our dc.
Xenia, how often did you see your dc and husband when they weren't babies?

blueshoes Thu 08-Nov-12 22:58:48

potato: "If both parents work full time and dcs care is provided for the majority of hours during the day by somebody else, the parents are hardly raising their dc, obviously."

By that test, I suppose parents of older children who have a lot of afterschool activities would not be raising their children then, because that would otherwise be magic.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 08-Nov-12 23:10:13


I guess that would depend on who accompanied them, attended the parent'/carers open evenings, etc. nanny, child minder or parent.

VintageRainBoots Thu 08-Nov-12 23:11:20

Who cares who is "raising" them (and during which hours) as long as the children are happy, well taken care of, and raised well? The outcome is far more important than who gets credit for it.

blueshoes Thu 08-Nov-12 23:12:23

potato, you are clutching at straws. By your definition, most teenagers would not be raised by their parents.

blueshoes Thu 08-Nov-12 23:13:36

Vintage, you are right. The proof is in the pudding. As it is, I struggle to see which children in my dc's school are raised by their parents and which are 'raised' by their childcarers, poor sods.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 08-Nov-12 23:16:40

I think it matters who raises the children when there is a topic concerning proposed payment for raising children. Who gets the credit for it may well be the argument for who gets funding for it.
But of course I agree the outcome for the dcs is far more important than money or lack of it.

blueshoes Thu 08-Nov-12 23:19:18

I don't see the connection between the person getting the credit for raising a child being the recipient of funding.

I don't believe in paying any parent to raise the children they chose to have. But I would support free or subsidised childcare for parents to enable them to continue to work.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 08-Nov-12 23:19:22

Speak for yourself, I raised mine as teenagers and will do the same with my future teenager.
You can still successfully raise a teenager by being there for them, I think they need more of your time and input.

blueshoes Thu 08-Nov-12 23:21:06

But what if you are not there for your teenagers 'for the majority of hours during the day', how can you be raising them? I am quoting you, potato.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 08-Nov-12 23:24:24


So the tax of parents who raise their own children should go to those who don't, in the form of childcare costs. To enable them to earn money to buy materialistic items, large houses, cars, foreign holidays etc. That a family with a sahp may not have because they value raising their own dc over material goods.
Oh yes thats clever.

blueshoes Thu 08-Nov-12 23:27:37

potato, your argument is circular and flawed.

No.1, I don't agree that working parents do not raise their children. No.2, you do fall for that delightful myth that working parents are doing it to fund a materialistic lifestyle. If that makes you feel better as a martyr, knock yourself out.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 08-Nov-12 23:29:14


I have never been in a situation where I wasn't there for my dc so I can't answer you I'm afraid. Of course there were times when some of them were at school but they came home at 3pm and we were here. Morning before school, here. Holidays from school, here. Evenings, you got it yes here. Weekends yep, here again.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 08-Nov-12 23:35:05


I don't think I'm a martyr and its each to their own. So my argument is flawed because no.1 you don't agree with me. sad
There is something fundamentally wrong in funding childcare for parents to buy materialism. Which is obviously where the money will go if childcare costs aren't an issue. If this is from taxes of other workers who raise their own dc. I personally see it as selfish and greedy. You of course are entitled to your opinion and we will have to beg to differ.

blueshoes Thu 08-Nov-12 23:37:47

No potato, I don't agree with No.1 and that makes your argument circular. Flawed is re: No.2.

You have not added anything substantive to your argument in your last post besides regurgitating it. We will agree to disagree.

blueshoes Thu 08-Nov-12 23:42:03

Workers who 'raise' their dc on one income may well be receiving benefits in the form of tax credits. They might not even be net contributors of tax.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 09-Nov-12 00:08:47


We are receiving tax credits as a very low income family. If these were to cease we would be desperate however, I could hardly complain and expect others to fund my lifestyle choice. My older 2 dc had no tax credit when very small as it didn't exist.
There are people working who receive no profit after paying childcare costs. They are obviously surviving on the one income, some in fact are losing money. It is their choice to do this for various reasons, including more money when children are older and needing less childcare costs. Because they don't want to be a sahp, career choice etc. Why should tax payers fund their life style choice, especially when it is not in keeping with the choices they themselves make and moreover, are surviving on far less themselves.

WidowWadman Fri 09-Nov-12 06:58:23

morethan so how are the taxcredits you are receiving not funding your lifestyle choice, whilst help towards childcare costs, may it be in the form of tax credits or a higher threshold of tax deductability is the tax payer funding somebody's lifestyle choice?

The answer to the situation that working creates a net loss to a family's income because the support you get falls away should really not be to tell people that work is a lifestyle choice and they should give it up if they can't afford it, and I can't see how people who want to work being forced to stay at home for economic reasons benefits anyone, not themselves, not their employer, and not the economy.
It's not neccessarily only unskilled easily replaceable workers who are in that situation.

And alone the rethoric of "work as lifestyle choice you should only do if you can afford it" really is mindboggling.

WidowWadman Fri 09-Nov-12 07:00:15

Btw, your tax is not paying anyone's lifestyle choice, as not working an' all, y'know, you're not paying tax.

Xenia Fri 09-Nov-12 09:12:33

The housewives certainly don't prove their brain power on this thread. You cannot have it both ways. Either you think working parents do bring up their children when they are under 3 (which of course they do) or you don't think housewives bring up children because they are at school.

Of course working parents bring up their children and those children tend to do better than those of housewives for obvious reasons - the working parents tend to have a higher IQ and are better at psychology and dealing with children and many other reasons not least higher income and understanding what "bringing up" means.

I would certainly as a free market libertarian be in favour of abolition of all tax breaks and allowances and a low capped flat tax of 20% for all and parents have children if they can afford them, no tax credits, child benefit, pension and ISA tax relief, simple easy tax system with no distortions.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 09-Nov-12 14:17:14


My dh pays tax not me and of course tax credits I receive are to provide a lifestyle choice. The difference is I don't harp on about maybe losing it, and don't feel entitled to it. I claim it because its offered but as I said before as it is funding my lifestyle choice I can hardly complain if it goes. If you can't survive on one wage tighten your belt, down grade, move areas. Don't expect others to fund your lifestyle choice. If you have dc both parents working to create a double income is a luxury.

Xenia, you are always quick to class sahp as those with low IQ. Maybe yours is high, I'm really not bothered about IQ as it means nothing really. Most sahp I know are very good at psychology especially in terms of understanding their children. They spend a LONG time providing practical solutions to their dcs problems and getting to know them WELL..
For a person who readily admits to taking 2 weeks off after the birth of dc, you are laughably not in a position to talk about bringing children up. You are so removed from reality, in your little middle class bubble, that too is laughable. How on earth does a high income mean your children will do better? and at what? If you mean successful in life then it depends on how you define success. I don't think working your whole life to buy material goods, services, etc is too bright tbh. Especially when that means missing out on so much in terms of raising your children.

WidowWadman Fri 09-Nov-12 15:19:02

morethan out of interest, do you have daughters or sons? If you have daughters do you raise them to expect to be a SAHM?

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 09-Nov-12 15:34:44

"working is a luxury" hahaha that has to be the best quote i've ever read on here.

I would imagine if we had a vote to say which was the luxury out of the two - working or staying home getting paid tax credits - i'm pretty sure you would be the only one voting work as a luxury.

Parents work to support their children, yes working may provide luxuries for some but for others they need to both work to cover the bills. Far better for children to grow up with a strong work ethic than expect the state to pay them to stay home.

Girls should be taught that there is more to life than staying home and equally boys should be able to find a partner who will contribute financially to the household and share the responsibility.

Xenia Fri 09-Nov-12 15:51:55

Obviously I agree with WW and MHOO.

Also the housewives claiming tax credits for their family, it they went to work their families would not get tax credits. I work very hard to fund those non working housewives tax credits. That is not very fair, is it? So I hope those families in receipt of tax credits with a non working partner in them are appreciative of we single mothers with children who work full time and have never had a tax credit in our lives.

As for working mothers being better parents we tend to be more likely to have university degrees. We are less likely to be smackers and obese and eat badly. We are more likely to have read books on psychology and deal with children better.

Also as I am in year 39 of being a mother (and of 5) if you add the hours I have spent with my children up I have done more hour on hour time with children than any housewife of 2 children on mumsnet actually so I get that cup for supremacy too if we keep records and think hours of being in the room with the child count. Never mind breastfeeding twins.

ByTheWay1 Fri 09-Nov-12 16:11:37

I am a SAHM ( well work VERY part time now the kids are at school) I don't get tax credits - never have.. and have an IQ of 146 which I do believe is quite high...

a university degree does not mean intelligence - just that you chose to continue in education.... I'm doing a degree in Maths and Statistics now - not having a degree never held me back when I was working full time in worldwide computer network management.

As for reading books on psychology... nooo thanks, I'm submerged in statistical arguments over whether fairtrade is fair and to whom at the moment , life only has room for so much reading...... why would reading a book make anyone a better parent?

I don't give a monkey's about the number of hours spent parenting, 'tis the quality of the time spent.. but I'm not going for any supremacy awards... or expecting you to finance my choices.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Fri 09-Nov-12 16:26:28

Working parents tend to have a better IQ and university degrees?????? What even those stacking the shelves/working as cleaners for the minimum wage??? What a ridiculous statement.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 09-Nov-12 19:56:12


I am sure tax credits wouldn't change your life much, I can't see you being deprived without them somehow.

Happymummy. Wow, aren't I lucky to have been brought up by parents who believed in living within your means. Perhaps my family should become one of the families where both need to work, what a novel idea.

My comment of work being a luxury if you can't afford childcare unfortunately was not my own thoughts. I have heard several use it on these threads. I just happen to agree

Finally, I have 2 sons 21 and 17 and one dd aged 8. I am raising them all to do what makes them happy, not settle for second best, money isn't everything and be who you want to be.
My ds 1 has nearly paid off student loan, bought a car and finances himself. Her has a nice nest egg that he's saving for house deposit. He's not greedy or materialistic so a 2 up 2 down will do him nicely.

merrymouse Fri 09-Nov-12 22:02:37

I think from a fiscal point of view, those who stay in work increase their ability to pay taxes/reduce the likelihood that they will need benefits for many years/decades after they need childcare. I think this is why governments like working parents.

Although I think its completely logical to argue that a particular individual can contribute more to the economy by providing their children with a superior education/growing their own fruit and veg/volunteering/being a carer for elderly parents etc. etc. than they would if they earned a wage, I think working parents tend to fund themselves tax wise.

Xenia Sat 10-Nov-12 10:25:02

The children of working mothers are also not necessarily materialistic. Working parents bring up their children with a mixture of values and of course work ethic and lack of sexism.

ByTheWay1 Sat 10-Nov-12 12:37:15

I bring my kids up with a mixture of values including a work ethic and lack of sexism.... some very big generalisations and assumptions are being made just because some people choose to not have full time paid employment in the early years of child rearing.

My kids see me as a SAHM who is there for them, (now) with a part time job chosen with them in mind, studying hard for a degree in Maths and Statistics, working as a team alongside their dad to provide a great home and a great start in life for them.

Other people make other choices in order to provide the best start in life for their children in their particular circumstances - doesn't mean any of us are promoting sexism or lacking in work ethic FFS

morethanpotatoprints Sat 10-Nov-12 16:20:26


My dc are brought up with a good work ethic in a non sexist environment. My dh helps to raise them and we all share household duties irrespective of sex. I dig the garden, clean cars, change oil, water and tyres as well as the males in the house. My dc are all capable of ironing, cooking the tea, vacuuming and washing up. I don't see your point there.

WidowWadman Sat 10-Nov-12 17:29:42

The belief that the sole purpose of work is wage earning and a good work ethic imho don't really go together.

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