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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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 23:24:24


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 23:21:06

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 23:19:22

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 23:19:18

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.

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