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Ofsted Director calls to scrap nursery subsidy for middle income families

(152 Posts)
Italiana Mon 03-Dec-12 09:03:59

Susan Gregory is calling for the 15 hours Free Entitlement to be scrapped for middle income families

This is a short preview in The Times today

GreenPetals Mon 03-Dec-12 13:02:48

mam why do you think a GP/HV/SS could make that judgement?

Ephiny Mon 03-Dec-12 13:04:29

Personally/selfishly I feel it's a shame, as (along with losing child benefit) it's another thing making it yet more difficult for us as a hardworking middle-income couple to consider having even one child.

It's not that I think I have a right to welfare state assistance to have a child, but the fact is a lot of families do get help. And we do seem to be in an awkward position of earning too much to qualify for any kind of benefits or tax credits, but not earning enough (after a considerable amount of tax!) to be able to afford to fund it ourselves.

AfterEightMintyy Mon 03-Dec-12 13:06:13

I wonder how much more money they think they can squeeze out of the middle incomers?

HerRoyalNotness Mon 03-Dec-12 13:07:59

We're supposed to be moving to London with our work, despite being above average earners, I calculated every month we'd be in DEBT paying the necessities. DS2 will be 3 in Aug, that would have brought some relief to us. Already to do anything other than exist we'll have to use our savings, even more so now.

They can only squeeze the middle class so far, it's called getting blood from a stone. Will everyone just take it on the chin or actually do something about it? What can be done?

MamaGeekChic Mon 03-Dec-12 13:10:16

I don't necessarily think they are the right people- but who else? I accept that the country's finances mean that things like free hours at nursery are now a luxury we can ill-afford and the point has been made that these hours are not to provide free childcare but for the benefit of deprived/neglected children then the deciding factor shouldn't be income. I know plenty of people on 'low' incomes because one parent is at home who would still have access to these hours and continue to use them to give themselves a break whereas we for example wouldn't and DP would need to continue to work 6 days a week to pay for it so DD is therefore the one losing out, and as I mentioned before we would struggle to afford to have another baby while aforementioned 'low earning couple' continue to enjoy the luxury of a parent at home full time and 15 hours a week for the older child at nursery- doesn't seem fair.

Aboutlastnight Mon 03-Dec-12 13:11:23

Those 15 hours really benefited all my children, they have very happy memories of their nursery.

What we need is universal heavily subsidised childcare and two earners in a family who can share childcare/financial responsibilities.

If I hadn't managed to get DD3 into a subsidised nursery we would still be struggling financially and I was worried DP would be ill through a the pressure.

Subsidised nursery meant I could go to work and we are no longer in debt and are in a bigger flat.

It is utterly depressing that these precious hours of pre school education are under threat.

DorisIsWaiting Mon 03-Dec-12 13:14:27

Good god that's shocking.

I could not afford to start dd3 at preschool until the term after her 3rd birthday (whne funding kicked in) she's end of the year so she gets 3 terms in preschool before she starts school. How on earth do they think reception teachers will cope when they end up doing the socialisation etc that pre-school does. She's already disadvantaged as she's young in the year and had less time in the pre-school.

Just becasue a child has parents who are in work (which essentially will be what this boils down to) why should they be disadvantaged? Why not go back to the 12 hours free which we had before (with dd1).

Aboutlastnight Mon 03-Dec-12 13:14:41

And it's interesting that on mumsnet, middle income = child not with SN, being abused, or poorly parented. And therefore per school education not needed.

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 13:14:48

"What we need is universal heavily subsidised childcare and two earners in a family who can share childcare/financial responsibilities. "

I dont' see anything wrong with one parent mum or dad staying at home and everyone just getting along with less stuff. It's the way things used to work.

MamaGeekChic Mon 03-Dec-12 13:17:54

Brycie it's the way things used to work before it took 2 people to sustain a mortgage thanks to property prices that a totally out of sync with incomes. It's a reasonable argument for those who bought their first home prior to the property boom.

Aboutlastnight Mon 03-Dec-12 13:18:16

It used to be possible to raise a family on one income.

Not anymore.

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 13:19:28

Good point about the mortgages. I accept.

Aboutlastnight Mon 03-Dec-12 13:21:10

It's not about 'less stuff' it's about paying energy bills, for food and petrol.

That subsidy means that it can make financial sense for both patent ends to work - not in all cases but in many cases.

And pre school us beneficial to all children and to schools as it prepares children for primary.

Aboutlastnight Mon 03-Dec-12 13:21:50

Patent ends? Parents.

Climbingpenguin Mon 03-Dec-12 13:21:59

They really don't want those pesky mothers working do they. Force them to stay out the workforce for longer and ruin their chances of stepping back onto the career ladder at even a OK level (not that it is that easy to do so atm). The amount of time out will be compounded by the increase in fees she wants charged.

DorisIsWaiting Mon 03-Dec-12 13:22:21

we are raising the family on one income, that (lower) income does not stretch to a pre school place. However we are not on benefits so do not qualify for the 2 year old funding.

A pre-school place is about so much more than daycare, which is why more WAS being pumped in to the early years curriculum. It allegedly made a difference.

Ephiny Mon 03-Dec-12 13:24:28

Actually we probably could have a family one one income. We intentionally took on a mortgage that we could afford on one salary, in case one of us lost our job (we both worked in finance, and it was a pretty unstable time - and we didn't have much savings then having put it all into the deposit). It's having a family on two incomes that we would struggle to afford, due to the cost of full-time nursery.

So I guess we do have that choice. Not a realistic one for me though.

Thisisaeuphemism Mon 03-Dec-12 13:26:10

Unbelievable, why not just line up all the working families and shoot them?

TheSunIsShining Mon 03-Dec-12 13:27:55

But nursery is NOT about childcare is it?? It's about starting the teach/educate children as early as possible so that they can get the best education they can.
Which we will need as a country in the world we live in now. There will be/are very few low skilled jobs left.

How is that a luxury to plan for the future of the country?

<<Yes I know, politicians only take the very short term view up the next up coming elections>>

Aboutlastnight Mon 03-Dec-12 13:31:17

But the 15 hours can be taken off the cost of a ft nursery place if the nursery is linked to the local authority.

TigerFeet Mon 03-Dec-12 13:35:28

Nursery costs are such a struggle for all, middle income (what does that mean exactly anyway?) included.

We had to space our children out as we could only afford one nursery place at a time. We're (probably) middle income earners but even though I work three days a week now instead of full time, our childcare costs run to several hundred pounds a month. It's more than our mortgage at the moment although as of next month when dd2 qualifies for the funding the two will swap places.

I understand that money needs to be saved but we've already lost CTC and with petrol costs (unavoidable as we are rural) rising all the time we really can't afford another cut. It's hardly worth my while working as it is, I mainly keep at it so I can resurrect my career once the children are older.

Aboutlastnight Mon 03-Dec-12 13:43:07

Indeed. We have just been told we have to pay back some CTC mistakenly paid to us in 2005 at £100/month for the next year. Fortunately we have not lost CB.

HandbagCrab Mon 03-Dec-12 13:44:55

It feels like there's a policy somewhere that states the government want 90% of families to have an income of about 25k. If you're on benefits they'll bump it up to that and if you earn more you lose various benefits on a sliding scale to bring you back down. If you work in London so can earn substantially more, transport and housing costs will see to that extra income thanks.

Its enough to live on, not enough to save, not enough to feel properly financially secure, not enough to send kids to fee paying schools, not enough to emigrate etc. But enough to get by on if you keep your head down, your nose clean and you don't rock the boat. I hate it.

Climbingpenguin Mon 03-Dec-12 13:47:08

I can see that handbag DH was offered a 10k pay rise but we would have actually have seen less money coming in each month as we currently have no commuting costs. In the end he accepted a lower salary but with travel costs paid on top.

mum2twoloudbabies Mon 03-Dec-12 13:47:39

If things continue in the way they have been 'middle income earners' will be the deprived. As many have pointed out this was put in place for the benefit of the children not the parents. It's a fantastic scheme meaning that most children arrive in reception ready to learn and in some cases well ahead making early school days more meaningful and hopefully providing a better educated work force in the future.

Plus, has she given any thought to those who will be put out of work by the inevitable decline in take up of pre-school places? Possibly meaning existing facilities closing down, less corporation tax, less income tax into the coffers.

Finally, the biggest issue we have in this area is getting 'the deprived' to actually bring their children along to use the free places. Many here are enrolled but never attend cutting funding won't solve this.

I cannot see any positives in this at all. Bad news for the children, bad news for those working and relying on the funding to make it worth going to work.

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