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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.

lljkk Sun 31-Mar-13 19:40:47

All I know is that 18 years ago...

My thoughts exactly. Some of you don't know you're born.

My take on it is:
When govt. spending is being cut everywhere else it makes sense to restrict subsidised childcare to only families with all adults in active work. The current system is grossly unfair, the new one is much smaller subsidy on avg. but available to a lot more families than the current set up. I gather it's a painful loss for some, but can't understand why they have made such a loud & public noise when so many (vast majority) of us never had their privileges, anyway.

Old system(s), new system: We got and will get nothing from either. I am a SAHM looking hard for work, too, but nothing in either system to help me. Some of you don't know you're born.

Suzietwo Sun 31-Mar-13 19:42:47


Wallison Sun 31-Mar-13 19:42:51

Ignore it all, wishiwas. If you made life choices around what everyone else said you should do, you'd never leave your bloody bed. And then you'd have people rounding on you for doing that. Mothers get it in the neck whatever they do - I was talking about this with a friend recently and we both said we were glad that we had boys because men's choices are just not scrutinised in the same way that women's are and so selfish as it might be we know that our kids will have an easier ride in lots of ways than they would if they had been girls. For eg you never hear the phrases "Working father" or "Career man" - it is just assumed that a man can work and have children. There is no question of "choice" (poisoned chalice that that phrase is in this context). And if a man does do his fair share of bringing up his own children, then he is lionised - for eg at work if a bloke leaves early to go and watch a nativity play then everyone clucks at how devoted he is, whereas if a woman does it then she's a slacker - I've seen it happen, and it's wrong.

janey68 Sun 31-Mar-13 19:44:51

I agree with the point that it's not like all these SAHM are itching to get back into the workplace. It's more the case that their situation is not worse, it's just that it's improved for some other groups, which makes you wonder whether it's the politics of envy. It's not something they need to use themselves, as they don't need childcare, so why resent other people who do need it?
The other issue some are up in arms about is the tapering off of CB is their husband is a HR tax payer - but again; this isn't a SAHM issue per as as it applies to all HR tax payers not just those who happen to have a non working spouse

I think the whole SAHM issue has been whipped up and is backfiring badly. Particularly as the woman who's hit the media for speaking out against Cameron is a former barrister- turned- SAHM who wants her husband to be taxed as if the two of them were earning his salary. I think we can safely assume that she earned a good salary in her former career, and as I say, wasn't asking the inland revenue to tax her as an appendage to her husband back then! Its a simple case of someone who has made a life choice (and no problem with that- entirely up to her and her dh ) but expects to move the tax goal posts to suit her circumstances

Suzietwo Sun 31-Mar-13 19:46:12

Wallison - I agree w you. Mothers do get it in the neck. I also wonder how much of that comes from our own sense of guilt (which seems to appear in the delivery suite) and attempts to diminish it by looking to others

I also wholeheartedly agree w the comments on this thread about finding your own way. Different things work for different families. Finding what works for you is the most important part.

Wallison Sun 31-Mar-13 19:57:28

I think it comes from living in a patriarchal society, really. I would hesitate to blame other women for it, because they are only acting and thinking within that context.

LittleChickpea Sun 31-Mar-13 20:23:12

Wow another thread on this.... grin

Don't think I have the energy for another debate on it. But from experience on this subject on MN it always leaves me feeling there are some that simply feel entitled to it...

I will sit back and watch to see if this thread ends any differently!

MrsDimples. Read your comment before MN deleted it. Was there really any need for that comment? confused

jellybeans Sun 31-Mar-13 20:24:11

Some people seem to group 'all these SAHM' together. Not all SAHP are the same.

I think low income families should get childcare help but not those on 300K. I personally would prefer a system where a payment (similar to Child Benefit) is given for all families to choose whether to offset the cost of both working part time or one staying at home OR to use towards childcare. For the many WOHM who would wish to SAH (such as the poster above) it could help them do so and for the SAHP who want to work it would help them. Of course the government would not want that as it would give too much choice and they know many more women/ men would chose to stay home and care for their own child which is the choice they don't want many to have.

'Op I sort of agree with you. Sahm do get a pretty good benefit which they seem to forget - economically active people - tax payers covering the costs of their access to the nhs, education, other public goods. I'll get flamed for this!'

^^These sorts of posts seem a little ignorant and bitter to me. For some families, such as my own, more income (and therefore tax) can be paid by one parent staying home. If the other parent works away/long hours etc. a person at home is a necessity. The above suggests that all those not earning enough to pay tax, who receives more tax credits back etc or unpaid carers/workers are freeloaders off other taxpayers! Hmmmm... What if they have private healthcare and home educate? You can't group everyone together. A welfare state is not about who deserves what but about help at the point of need. No-one chooses to get cancer or be ill etc.

What many SAHP are fed up about lately is the way the government treats them and devalues them. Not that they are envious about lower/middle paid people receiving help with childcare. But for me it doesn't matter, the other governments were just as bad and I still made the best decision for my family. They are not the best people to take advice from in my opinion anyhow!

jellybeans Sun 31-Mar-13 20:26:12

'I agree with the point that it's not like all these SAHM are itching to get back into the workplace. It's more the case that their situation is not worse, it's just that it's improved for some other groups, which makes you wonder whether it's the politics of envy. It's not something they need to use themselves, as they don't need childcare, so why resent other people who do need it? '

Why do you group all SAHM together?

The same posters seem to have very strong opinions on others choices on these threads!

janey68 Sun 31-Mar-13 20:36:23

How would it work then, for people to be given some sort of financial assistance to actively choose not to work? hmm

Of course economically the govt wants people to work. It feels like it's almost become a dirty word - work. How would it work any other way? I'm genuinely interested in people's ideas about how the economy would function without incentivising people to work! God knows, we've had various govt policies over recent years which have acted as enough of a DISincentive and look where that's landed us

The thing is, people get very het up, thinking this is about devaluing SAHP - it's not. Its a perfectly valid choice if you can afford it and want to do it.

The other thing this debate always makes me think is that really we're all getting sidetracked by the SAHM/ WOHM issue when actually a far more valid debate would be GOOD parenting and POOR parenting. There are many different ways to parent well- you can work or not work and be a damn good parent. Which are the type of family which are FAR more likely to end up costing the state a hell of a lot more? We all know the answer to that- the product of poor or neglectful parenting is far more costly. Nothing to do with whether the parents are working or not. It just strikes me as ironic because whether we're WOHM or SAHM, all of us on here are no doubt doing a damn good job of parenting.

Suzietwo Sun 31-Mar-13 20:40:03

Sorry for repeating thread... blush

Wallison Sun 31-Mar-13 20:51:32

Actually, I personally think that the biggest way of incentivising people to work is to pay them a proper living wage. All of this tinkering with tax credits and the like has come about because employers are not paying people enough for them to house, clothe and feed their families while paying for childcare. Raise the minimum wage and let those employers who cannot run their businesses without the state subsidising their employees go to the ground - they aren't viable businesses anyway, if they need the state to help their employees in this way. Fuck it - if we're going to have capitalism, at least let it be proper capitalism, where businesses sink or swim in a proper undistorted market.

Oh yes and stop the state from keeping house prices high as well, which would also go some way to solving the problem of employees' living costs being so high that they need state help.

jellybeans Sun 31-Mar-13 20:55:14

'How would it work then, for people to be given some sort of financial assistance to actively choose not to work?'

That isn't what I was saying (if you are referring to my post?) My preference would be to bring back CB for all and increase it substantially. After all its value has not risen as it should have in recent years. That way people can decide for themselves. Then we all get more of a choice. Surely that is good? It wouldn't cost that much more. If some statistics are to be believed 60% of mothers would rather combine part time work with parenting under school age children. Only 20% would rather be full time workers or stay home parents. So surely the government should be looking at the majority and with these new childcare rules they wouldn't be helping all those mums who work part time or for low pay but focusing on what only a low number of parents want. No coincidence that many of the leaders wives fit this category.

Every family is different. Some people both work part time. Others both work full time and pay someone else to do the childcare or use family. Others still have one person work and the other do their own childcare. Whoever chooses to work and earn the money is not the point; it is the family income. It could be one parent or both earning. One parent deciding to do childcare because it suits their family best is not 'actively choosing not to work' but taking care of their own child while the other parent works-there is tax being paid by the family!

janey68 Sun 31-Mar-13 20:59:53

Oh I whole heartedly agree- the NMW should be a higher- certainly at a level where a person is significantly better off in a job than not. And that needs to take into account the fringe benefits which people often lose when they earn over a certain amount. Tax credits were a crap idea in that they incentivise people to work a bit, but not much!

I don't think this addresses the specific issue of couples who choose to have a SAHP though, because even if NMW were raised, you would still have the issue of the SAHP dropping their overall household income when they stop working. And tbh that seems to be the nub of the issue here: families who choose that this is what they want, which is fine, but then resent the drop in income and lack of (as much) access to childcare (which they don't need anyway!)

janey68 Sun 31-Mar-13 21:00:29

That was agreeing with Wallison btw about NMW

Bridgetbidet Sun 31-Mar-13 21:01:05

I don't think that the current system promotes choice. It simply forces people back to work.

I work 3 days a week and monthly after childcare I have about £500 left. I also get a £500 subsidy for my childcare.

It's stupid that I would be given that £500 to pay someone else to somebody else to look after my children but if I decided to stay home I would receive no help. If I was to stay home and still given that £500 a month subsidy to me directly to spend I would be receiving exactly the same income and the government would be paying exactly the same amount but I would be at home with my child and my job would be freed up for someone else who needs it. I would love to be able to do that, the subsidy should be there to enable childcare by yourself, not just by a professional provider.

If I threw my husband out the state would support me to stay at home and bring up my children, but because I have a partner I would be given no support and we would have to rely solely on his salary which is impossible so I am forced back into work.

There's no 'improving choice' about it - it's all about forcing people in to work, no help is offered to people who want to stay at home. The state will pay for professional childcare, but not for a married mother to stay at home with her child.

It's extremely unfair, I feel really discriminated against that single women are seen as needing to care for their children but those in a relationship aren't.

HappyMummyOfOne Sun 31-Mar-13 21:05:34

"All I know is that 18 years ago, I was entitled to six months maternity leave with very little of it paid at all. There were no child tax credits, nursery vouchers had just been withdrawn and generally people had to save up before they started a family to pay for it"

Thankfully there are still many that do save for children and then only have the number they can afford. Sadly many dont and then blame the big bad government when they dont get as much money or perks as they want.

The state doesnt need to value SAHP's, they are not adding to the pot yet taking from it and you choose to be a parent for your own reasons not for the states benefit.

Many believe they should be paid to stay home (many actually are by tax credits) and others believe they should have tax breaks on childcare despite not actually working to pay tax anyway. Others believe that they cannot work as their partner does so they cant possibly be expected to do so as well. Choosing to have an adult not work is a luxury, you either save up for it orensure the other partner can cover all the costs, the state should not pay for lifestyle choices. Benefits should be those for those truly in hard times not because an adult doesnt want to work or cant possibly let little Johnnie attend nursery.

Working should pay and so if tax breaks mean more work then that can only be good for the ecomomy and our future children. Girls should be bought up with the knowledge they can parent and work hand in hand and that they dont have to find a rich husband and stay home. We encourage education so it should be used.

janey68 Sun 31-Mar-13 21:09:21

Well ideally I'd like CB to be universal (we've lost it) but the country can't afford it, so it's not going to happen.
I completely disagree with lumping a partner with their spouse for taxation purposes. Individual taxation was hard won and is an important principle. Of course, each family unit can decide how they want to share work, home and caring responsibilities, and mums and dads usually do operate as a supportive partnership- but you don't need to be taxed as an individual to do that

Someone on another thread made a pertinent point: families with just one earner were allowed to treat that income as if it were earned by two of them, to gain financial advantage, why shouldnt dual income families be allowed the same advantage- ie my income should be taxed as if two people have earned it, and ditto for my DH. In other words, 2 earners would be taxed as 4 people earning! It may sound ridiculous but it's a logical conclusion isn't it?!

janey68 Sun 31-Mar-13 21:11:26

That should be IF families with one earner...

LittleChickpea Sun 31-Mar-13 21:15:54

That was me Janey. And in my opinion a lot of the arguments n the discriminated against/SAHP should get childcare are illogical and don't have cost considerations in mind. For industry which impacts the Gov purse....

Kazooblue Sun 31-Mar-13 21:24:03

Erm the country can afford for rich pensioners to have benefits they don't need , enable families earning the same and more along with double tax allowances to keep their CB and rich families up to 300k to get help with childcare so really there is no excuse for CB not to be universal.

The fact is many children need and want to be with their mothers in the early years,sahm will have paid tax all their lives,are often supporting/enabling a spouse to pay a shed load of tax often at 40% and often don't want to be a sahm for long.Nothing is being done to help these families who need help however the gov seems only too happy to help the rich and the grey vote instead.

More importantly on this very important issue nobody looks at the needs of children first.

jellybeans Sun 31-Mar-13 21:26:39

Good points Kazooblue

janey68 Sun 31-Mar-13 21:32:50

Kazoo- you are not going to agree on this issue because you believe that children need to be with their mothers. That's fine as a personal belief, but not all parents feel the same. Whether you can relate to that or not, it's just how it is

I also find the hypocrisy about the high earning issue rather distasteful. It seems to be SAHM with off husbands who are most up in arms. People only lose CB completely if the income is over 50k which is high by most peoples standards. And these SAHM who were previously putting into the coffers in their pre- children careers- why did they not offer to be taxed as one with their husband back then? Why do they want a change in policy as soon as their individual situation changes?

Anyway, I'm not interested in going down the SAHM v WOHM route. It always ends badly. Great if you feel it's right for your family, but it doesn't make it right for all.

Kazooblue Sun 31-Mar-13 21:35:07

The fact it's clear 2 very rich men who were packed off to boarding school and have wives with lucrative careers and the use of nannies really know buggar all regarding what your average mother and more importantly child wants or needs.

The stress filled working life for the majority of mothers and children is a world away from that experienced by Samcam and her high class handbags.

Tories couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery.

janey68 Sun 31-Mar-13 21:35:55

Ps just to clarify- I didn't mean to sound like children don't need their mums- of course they do, and their dads! It's just that many families do not subscribe to the view that children up to a certain age can only be cared for 100% by their mother. Fine if that's what suits, but other ways are equally good for other families

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