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Childcare costs- someone talk me through the outrage

(447 Posts)
Suzietwo Sun 31-Mar-13 15:00:54

Is it just me or does it seem a bit grabby of mothers to be getting cross about the change to child care rules?

I thought the rules were being changed to try and encourage people to work. Ie to give them more choice and be option generating aka A. Good. Thing.

But the stay at home mums voice in the media just sounds a bit self important.

Don't misunderstand me, I am entirely on favour of people and families making decisions which suit them. This isn't about that. It's about people being a bit....indulged? Make a choice, stick with it. The more choices which are available the better so if the gvnt can help (a different argument about whether they should) by offering money to assist people go to work, then fab. But don't demand it for making the choice to stay at home.

Suzietwo Sun 31-Mar-13 19:03:17

To win votes

Take how few people, proportionately, earn the amount of money you're talking about. And then deduct those who have one stay at home parent. Then deduct those who don't get around to claiming.

And the cost of offering it across the demograph is probably less than the cost of policing it if they don't

Plus, the votes thing

hwjm1945 Sun 31-Mar-13 19:06:11

Actually the more I think about it I wonder if all these subsidies actually drive up the costs?surely in a free market the costs of childcare would be what people could pay for it.really do find it hard to understand why the state should help me go to work to earn cash to spend for my family's exclusive benefit.

Wallison Sun 31-Mar-13 19:09:19

Kind of a shit way to run things though, isn't it - I mean, literally taking money from the working poor to give to the rich.

The SAHM outrage is a red herring - if you're at home you don't need childcare (unless you are arguing that all people who don't work need childcare in order to look for work, which would mean funding childcare for at least 3 million people) but even so you get 15 hours a week once your kid is three.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 31-Mar-13 19:11:04

Because if you are in work you pay taxes, travel costs, are more likely to be self supporting in retirement etc. there are good macroeconomic reasons to encourage people to work

Suzietwo Sun 31-Mar-13 19:12:21

I wish it were a red herring but I've read articles about it in right and left wing media.

As for taking money from poor to give to rich... I say not really. Other make all social welfare means tested or stfu, frankly. Not you per se. Just the argument fails.

Add in all the stuff about rich contribudpting more in tax etc

janey68 Sun 31-Mar-13 19:14:07

I can relate to marriedinwhiteagain's posts.
When you put things into a broader context things are way better than before. Tax credits and subsidised childcare haven't been around very long. When I had my first dc, the situation was basically that you paid for your own childcare out of taxed earnings. If you only had, say, £25 a week left over after nursery was paid, but you needed that £25 to pay the bills, then you just sucked it up and got on with it. There is generally far more of a culture of people manipulating the system nowadays to make it work for them- eg working enough to get tax credits but still keeping hours quite low. I'm not saying you can blame people - its the system which is flawed. Also people forget that with longer ML, it's not nearly as long these days that people have to pay childcare, because ML is longer and free hours kick in at age 3, whereas in the past youd be paying childcare from around 12 weeks until almost 5 yrs (yes, i had a September baby so it was literally almost 5 years of full fees- not great planning!)

The SAHM has been whipped up in the media to make it seem that SAHM are somehow being unfairly treated. Apart from the childcare issue (which is ridiculous- a SAHM does not need childcare) there are various calls for the husband of the SAHM to be taxed as if the both of them were earning his wage, so that he pays less tax. It annoys some SAHM that two parents both working and earning a joint income the same as their husband, will get more overall take home pay. What they conveniently forget is that WOHP have far higher outgoings with childcare. They also forget that when they themselves were working before they had kids, they didn't ask to be taxed as one person then.. They were quite happy to

janey68 Sun 31-Mar-13 19:15:26

Oops . They were quite happy to take the advantages of separate taxation when it suited them.

Personally I would have no problem with funded childcare to enable a SAHM to go on interview, but I'm not sure how this would work in reality

blueberryupsidedown Sun 31-Mar-13 19:17:57

I am not a SAHM (anymore) and my kids are older and I still think that the government adopted a very strange strategy to communicate these changes.
They said, quote Clegg:
This will be "a boost direct to the pockets of hardworking families" (as if families who decide that one parent is to stay at home to look after the kids are not hard working, lazy, etc)
"And we want to help those families who work hard and want to get on". ERrrr in my experience parents who stay at home to look after their children don't think that they don't work hard.... many sahp find that those years are really hard work....

And the parts of the new policy which really p me up is that if one of the parent earns less than £10,000 a year (earning less than the personal tax allowance, which is due to reach £10,000 by 2015) the family will not have full access to the new system of help for childcare cost, whereas a family with both parents earning up to £150,000 - two parents with a joint income of £299,999.98 would be eligible. Sorry but that makes no sense to me whatsoever. Somebody pinch me. Did they say £300,000 a year? Why on earth do they need support with childcare? We will end up paying for those families to save their money and send their kids to private schools...

Suzietwo Sun 31-Mar-13 19:19:52

I think we all know the answer to that Janey..!

Still works that way for some of us who aren't entitled to maternity pay, on account of being self employed so I fully understand what you and white are saying. I've had two babies since being se

Wallison Sun 31-Mar-13 19:21:53

^ Other make all social welfare means tested or stfu, frankly

I'm not clear what you mean by this. Do you think the NHS should be means tested? Or that JSA, housing benefit, tax credits etc shouldn't? Surely it is possible to argue that some things should be means tested and other shouldn't?

ReallyTired Sun 31-Mar-13 19:22:15

The new scheme is nowhere near as generous as the old scheme, but is available to more people ie. self employed. My concern with the new system is that sheer complexity and expense of administration. Surely its cheaper just to let a minority of SAHP partners have the vouchers than assess the incomes of two people? What happens when people move in together or relationships break up? How does this apply to step parents?

I feel the SAHM thing is a bit of a red herring. A bigger issue is that parents who are students with a working partner cannot access support. Someone who is short term unemployed or on maternity leave may not want to distrupt childcare arrangments.

Wallison Sun 31-Mar-13 19:26:30

blueberry - the 'hardworking families' rhetoric has been turned around by this govt. Labour used it in order to sweeten the fact that low earners got a (much-needed in a way that it isn't needed by households earning £300,000 a year) income top-up. What the Tories appear to be doing with the phrase is applying it to people who earn vast amounts of money. It's designed to be a vote-winner to everyone who looked at the proles and got mad about them getting state help.

gallicgirl Sun 31-Mar-13 19:26:35

Ok, to clarify, I said a bit of help while looking for work would be nice, not necessary. However, if and when DP has interviews or is forced to go on training courses, we have no option other than to hope nursery has a space and we can afford to pay or that i'm allowed a day off. Luckily we're in a position where that's likely but a lot of jobseekers wouldn't be. Also luckily, I earn sufficiently that we won't qualify for income based jsa so forced workfare won't be a problem but will those forced onto workfare then be allowed to claim for help with childcare costs as 2 parents are "working"?

Suzietwo Sun 31-Mar-13 19:29:23

I think that the argument about couples earning 300k and claiming it is a bit pointless. Because either you means test all welfare or none, arguably.

Personally I don't really give a crap. I don't care about paying for the poor or the rich via my taxes (and I fall among the most taxed income brackets)

I DO care about people whinging about what it on offer. Because they're pretty lucky to have any of it available.

hwjm1945 Sun 31-Mar-13 19:29:40

I think in the last 20 yrs or so we have all come to expect a lot of state support.I think this has allowed companies to keep wages artificially low,housing benefit has propped up rents,childcare subsidies propped up nursery fees,really it should be for the most vulnerable and needy.the rest of us should man up and take responsibility fir our families and our choices

Suzietwo Sun 31-Mar-13 19:31:51

Does that make me a socialist ?! shock

Wallison Sun 31-Mar-13 19:32:39

gallicgirl, jobseekers can get help for costs relating to interviews. And I could be wrong but I don't think the SAHMs belly-aching about this are doing so because of their burning desire to go back to work which has now been thwarted.

Suzietwo Sun 31-Mar-13 19:33:09


Wallison Sun 31-Mar-13 19:34:24

I don't think it makes you a socialist - confused maybe, but not what I would recognise as a socialist. If you think that no benefits should be means-tested, do you mean that someone earning £100,000 should qualify for housing benefit? Or council tax benefit? Or tax credits?

Wishiwasanheiress Sun 31-Mar-13 19:36:49

I plan to be sahm til dds go to school. Then I'd like to return to work. I don't consider what I did was a career as I did it for £ not love. Therefore happy to return to anything. On this site and in life I find I'm not allowed to want to be a sahm, ie I have to be planning to return to work. I could be out of work for 5yrs. See even I say ' out of work' not a mother! (Doh!) I see on many threads on here an insistence that I keep my cv workable. I should volunteer, I should do it courses. I should basically be out of the house for what would be several mornings a week just to remain potentially employable. Except I would gain no assistance until I was actually searching. Til that point how do I pay for this child care? Or do we assume I have family/friends able to? Or could they without themselves ending up deemed childcare? ( bit woolly there but there were stories at one point so someone else will know the details).

In the past a value from society was put on family life by successive governments, rightly or wrongly. I think it is sad that the value we once held family life in is being eroded. Do I deserve the money? No, but few of us do' deserve' any of the benefits that we actually are given or are entiltled to claim in our system.

Many of those damning a sahms for starting to say hang on a minute just say "but aren't u supposed to be at home?" I don't think this encompasses the shades of grey that occurr in real lives. I don't see it as being one or the other. I see a more blended life. Some of the most surprising elements come from women. Ive seen some very stern stuff on here suggesting i eiteher stay at home and bake cakes or get my lazy ass back at work! As if either of these might be right! And as I said before if women can't encompass the grey that occurs in real lives then why do u think the men in suits can?

As I say, I don't deserve support. However I object to devaluing me so that society no longer values the role of mother at all. And if us women don't stand up for that, why should men?

MrsDimples Sun 31-Mar-13 19:38:26

Suzietwo YABU the new change isn't a 'benefit'.

It will disadvantage people that require childcare, from receiving it, especially those already vulnerable.

I'm still trying to work work out how I'll find the time to fit in a job interview when I have no childcare . . . . hmm

ReallyTired Sun 31-Mar-13 19:39:04

"I DO care about people whinging about what it on offer. Because they're pretty lucky to have any of it available. "

Nobody likes cuts being dressed up as an improvement.

Many people are whinging because its a cut compared with the old system. The old system allowed parents to pay for childcare of school aged children where as the new vouchers do not. Most parents get less help than they did with the old system and understandably some people are upset.

I think that all these subsidises have pushed up the cost of childcare, particularly for over threes.

Suzietwo Sun 31-Mar-13 19:39:49

Heh. Don't worry. I'm not serious. And I'm not motivated enough to be confused either

babybythesea Sun 31-Mar-13 19:40:14

OK, back (without a child climbing on me) to try and explain.

I'm starting from the view that politicians always talk about 'choice' - the choice to return to work etc. Especially for women.

DH does a fairly low paid job although above NMW.
I also do a fairly low paid job, and one, more than that, with unpredictable hours. Some weeks I earn nothing so we get free childcare for those weeks when I'm not in work. Other weeks I work more hours than are covered by the govt so we pay out more for the childcare which leaves me not very much take home cash. So pay can be pretty poor. Without govt support for childcare, I wouldn't be able to afford to work at all which is I fully understand what they are trying to avoid.
However, even with govt support, we were only marginally better off. It;s just that the margin was important in terms of our financial survival.

I listened to a politician talking as though the only issue was access to good quality childcare and this annoyed me. I am good quality child care - I'm dd's mother. I wanted to stay at home but we couldn't afford it. The govt money didn't fully cover childcare costs so we still had to do the extra on occasion, but then we ended up costing them money on the weeks I didn't work and didn't need it.

I just think there has to be a better system although i don't know what it is. I got a bit fed up listening to this chap pontificating about good quality child care and choice for women and thought "I am good quality care - why not give a portion of that money directly to me? That would cut your cost, and give us about the same amount of take home money at the end, and that would be a true choice for me ie not working in order to look after dd." And it wouldn't cost the govt as much in terms of supporting me (although admin might end up costing them - I get that!). I just felt that it wouldn't look as good. I'd not come up as employed on his stats, and neither would the person then being paid to look after dd. It wasn't so much about looking for free handouts, as I fully appreciate we chose to have dd.

It is more that you can only really have that choice, as far as I can see, if your DH earns a decent salary. If not, you have to work, and the support is there for that but not there to help you raise your own child. Admit it and don't tell me I am choosing to work! It;s about the wording. Women who want the choice don't always have it but that cuts both ways - sometimes it's hard to get back to work and if you want to that should be facilitated, but sometimes it's just as hard to stay home when you honestly think that would be best - that's not taken into account in all their pontificating.

Hope that's clearer.

MrsDimples Sun 31-Mar-13 19:40:19

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