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"Childcare In The UK 'Most Expensive In World'" Sky news report

(211 Posts)
LittlePickleHead Wed 07-Sep-11 09:06:49

The cost of childcare is forcing women to turn down jobs or give up work because they can't afford the cost of childcare.

This is true personally, DH and I are holding off on trying for DC2 until DD is in school as putting two into childcare would cost more than I can earn. Much tougher is on those who already have children who have no lost tax credits or subsidised childcare and are now being forced into poverty.

My cycnical side thinks that taking mothers out of the workplace has many benefits for the government...

chandellina Wed 07-Sep-11 09:38:17

I agree it is a major problem but what are the answers?

I think my nanny is within her rights to get a good wage after 25 years of experience. We share her with another family to make it affordable. However, one thing that would help is a tax break for me on my costs of paying her tax out of my net pay. I imagine a lot of countries have lower costs as percentage of income because the workers are paid under the table.

Nurseries could also be government subsidised as in other countries.

I disagree that the government has any interest in taking women out of the workforce - they need our tax and contribution to economic growth.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 07-Sep-11 09:46:57

Childcare has always been expensive and families have always had to make judgement calls on whether it's something we can afford to do. Some people are lucky and have relatives or partners who can step in. Others are lucky and can afford to stay at home and care for their own children. The rest of us sensibly factor in the child-care costs when planning whether to have them at all - saving up etc. I also think people who work as childminders and nannies have the right to a decent wage.... wouldn't want to cut corners and then find the care was substandard.

meditrina Wed 07-Sep-11 09:51:15

Childcare is Government subsidised - tax break on vouchers, CTC (arguably ELG too).

How much more money do you think is needed and where will it come from? How will you "sell" this as a policy to the wider population - some of whom will just have emerged from the hell of paying it all themselves only to get the higher tax (or countervailing cut to a service they might want) to give others lower direct bills?

It is however annoying that childcare is considered a women's only issue and talked of in terms of women's participation in the workplace.

The cost of nurseries shot up with the big increase in NI contributions - their main cost is staff cost. The hikes of that year have just been reinforced by inflation, and difficulties in affordability compounded by widespread pay freezes amongst parents. UK has had high childcare costs for years - I'm not sure why. Could it be connected with the regulatory regime, plus high property costs?

PaulaMummyKnowsBest Wed 07-Sep-11 10:14:23

We also have some of the best childcare in the world. English nannies are sought after across the world and are often placed in high profile families.

kelly2000 Wed 07-Sep-11 10:24:33

But I know in Denmark it is about £300 a month for childcare, whereas in London it can easily be £1000 per month. I think thta is why children in britain go to school so early too, as it is obviously free to send them to a state school.
And I do not think british childcare is any better the qualifications are more or less the same, but there is just this reputation of "british nannies".

Sadday Wed 07-Sep-11 12:15:34

This is big in the news in Wales today, but aimed at low paid families. However It effects all salaries. I would of loved to of kept my job, but it didnt pay for 2 in full time childcare, we went on to have number 3!! I know we are lucky, we could afford for me to be a stay at home mum, but it wasnt easy, we had to make cut backs, we had to budget and weigh things out, we most definatly couldnt afford number 4! All Ive heard today on the news is low income families with 4/5 or 6 children complaining there is no affordable childcare and they cant afford to go back to work!

VoluptuaGoodshag Wed 07-Sep-11 12:43:09

Could we get a touch of perspective here. The most important thing is that kids are well looked after, fed and clothed. If it's cheaper to do this by not working then so be it. In most cases our kids did not ask to be born, we chose to have them. Thus we make sacrifices. If that means a parent (note I'm not using the term mother as that's a whole new debate) stays at home to do this then what's the problem.

I think we need to approach this whole issue from the 'what's best for the kids' perspective, not what I want for me!!! We are such a selfish lot these days.

Mspontipine Wed 07-Sep-11 12:53:37

Selfish by wanting to work? I have no choice having been re-branded by new benefits system. No longer lone parent doing a sterling job of caring for her child, but the feckless work shy dole scrounger. Mother of 8 year old- desperate to get back ino work - am I now to count myself as selfish too as I am chosing (and being forced to) to try to work instead of being available to care for my son all by myself???

HerHissyness Wed 07-Sep-11 12:53:59

kelly2000, out of interest how come childcare is so cheap in Denmark? - what do childminders charge per hour?

It is strange that the person you have providing child care for your childhere may be on £5/hour where as someone hired to clean your house would be on double that or more!

GypsyMoth Wed 07-Sep-11 12:55:07

I don't see why childcare workers should be expected to work for such low wages, or why the government should provide more than they already do!

flyingcloud Wed 07-Sep-11 12:56:46

I disagree that the government has any interest in taking women out of the workforce - they need our tax and contribution to economic growth. I totally agree with this - governments need people in work, hence the need to raise retirement ages. Workers are net contributors to the economy.

However I am amazed at the costs in England - I thought France was cheap (and it's subsidised via tax credits, etc) - but I still pay €1000 a month for dd's place with a childminder. And children go to school early here too - they go to nursery school at 3 (not complusory but 98% take-up).

YourMam Wed 07-Sep-11 12:58:50

VoluptuaGoodshag, Society has to have some people having kids or we'll rapidly have no workforce supporting our pensions when we get older. Of course I'm not saying I've had a baby as a public service but I think there is something to say for the fact society should support people when they need help. It is in everyone's interests if mums can stay in the workforce, so that when kids go to school, and further on, leave home, women still have a toe-hold in a career and can keep it up, support themselves, pay taxes, and have worthwhile and fulfilling jobs.

I am self-employed and therefore don't get childcare vouchers. So none of my childcare can be written off against tax. I have never understood this. I am not out having a jolly while my son is in childcare, I am working. Why isn't this tax-deductible like any other of my business expenses?

For what it's worth: I have a nanny share three days a week, ten hours a day. It costs roughly £1000 a month all in. Nursery where I live (London) would be the same, maybe £100 cheaper. If nothing else, there is a lot to be said for us all talking about it a lot more. I genuinely had no idea it would be this expensive, assuming because no one talked about it, everybody was managing fine. I am desperate to keep up work, because I don't want to give up my career. Because I'm self-employed, if I took 5 years off to raise children, it would be nigh-on impossible to get back in. Hanging on by my fingernails. And that's just with one child.

Jodyisagirlsmane Wed 07-Sep-11 13:00:49

See, I agree with SaraSidle to an extent. I think the fact that childcare costs a lot here is an indication of the value that we place on those doing the job of caring for our children (well, not mine... I don't have mine yet!)

It is an important job, it deserves a wage to reflect that imo.

MrsHuxtable Wed 07-Sep-11 13:02:39

Between the ages of 3 and 6 childcare in Germany is free. The starting age might even be 2 by now...

MrsHuxtable Wed 07-Sep-11 13:03:53

Depending on which state you are in but even if you pay, it's not more than 100£ a month...

PanicMode Wed 07-Sep-11 13:08:36

I've just given up P/T work because the cost of a nanny (I have four children so can't really do it any other way), and my commuting costs were taking up almost all of my salary - and I was on a salary north of 60k pro rata. Now that employers have to also contribute to a pension for any employers (even if that is only just one, your nanny), the small margin I was making evaporated.

I will go back to work once they are all in school, but I can't make the numbers stack up at the moment - and that's with 2 in school already.

bacon Wed 07-Sep-11 13:12:42

VoluptuaGoodshag what about farmers wifes etc???? us self employed....unless you have family - you have to pay for quality childcare. We are both self employed as we have had to diversify as farming doesnt pay so we have entered into the construction industry - I have method statements, risks, CIS, endless paperwork with the farm and construction. Its a good couple of days a week all year - no holidays and limited weekends for us!!!

I pay two pays a week which costs around £300 per month which is hell of a chunk out of my drawings. We cant draw anymore as the business cant carry it and the money is needed to invest back into our and our childrens future. I sometimes have to make risks and make DS2 play endlessly on his own as I have to keep this business afloat.

Once the business makes profit you can forget funding.

There is nothing wrong with women working - some rather part-time but then again you are working for nothing.

Its not all about low incomes but middle incomes cant afford this and low incomes do receive plenty of benefits where middle incomes have nothing. Contributing towards the growth of the country, making a future for ourselves whats wrong with that?

Cereal Wed 07-Sep-11 13:19:18

Like you OP, childcare costs would be more than I would earn, although as it happens, I prefer to be a SAHM.

niceguy2 Wed 07-Sep-11 13:21:17

Childcare has gone up for several reasons.

Firstly there is a paranoia in the UK over health & safety & peadophiles. As a result we have rightly or wrongly incredibly stringent rules, regulations, inspections etc. All of which increase costs.

Secondly tax credits has completely changed the game. Pre-tax credit days nurseries could only charge what parents could afford to pay or they would go out of business. Those who couldn't afford it stayed at home. Simple.

Then along came tax credits which opened up a whole section of society who could now get up to 80% of their fees paid. Even for those getting less, their childcare is/was subsidised. Great stuff!

However, the law of supply & demand kicks in and prices inevitably go up. Why? because now there are many more kids who need a childcare place. Their parents instead of paying £100 per week is actually only paying £20 a week. So the nursery/CM thinks. "Hell, i'll increase my rates. Mr/Mrs x won't care. If I charge £150, they're only now paying £30 a week and the government pay the rest...."

It would have been better in my opinion to fund nurseries like we do for schools. We don't pay 80% of school costs so why should we for nurseries!?!?

niceguy2 Wed 07-Sep-11 13:22:40

By the way, i just wanted to add that I don't think Labour were wrong to subsidise childcare, I just think they did it in a naive manner and didn't think about the law of unintended consequences.

Annamaria0 Wed 07-Sep-11 13:25:02

I have been saying the same thing for years. When I moved to this country to be with my English DH, I was shocked to find out how expensive it is. I was so taken aback because in every other European country childcare is subsidised to a far greater degree. When you look at France and Scandinavian countries, you immediately see the benefits: better academic achievement than in the UK, more women working, better work - life balance etc. They can afford it because it is a much higher priority for them the housing and unemployment benefits that this country pays out to an army of people. I find it hard to fathom: British people don't seem to understand that it is better to spend taxpayers' money directly on state - run, not private, childcare (tax credits are ineffective, complicated and not nearly enough), than pay enormous amounts of money in housing and other benefits to people who don't want to work and don't want to contribute to the society. Also, this is the only country where, if I've brought this issue up, I've met with the glib reaction: "Don't have children if you can't afford them". We certainly can't afford millions of feckless scroungers, but it seems that's what the previous and even current government prefer to spend our taxes on.

Annamaria0 Wed 07-Sep-11 13:26:53

Sorry, I meant to say:
They can afford it because it is a much higher priority for them THAN the housing and unemployment benefits that this country pays out to an army of people.

grumplestilskin Wed 07-Sep-11 13:32:48

what I find wrong about this is that it is post code dependant, there are HUGE variations per hour in child care costs in different places.

But nursery nurses pay doesn't vary that much so why the HUGE differences in costs to parents? I can afford to work where I live now but could not in the last place I lived because of the enourmous differences in child care rates.

And I agree that nursery nurses should be valued and that reflected in their pay, they work long old hours and mine do an AMAZING job

jigglebum Wed 07-Sep-11 13:40:15

Someone asked how it was so cheap in Denmark - well it is due to massive government subsidy. Maternity and family benefits are very good in Denmark but it does have disadvantages too. We have family in Denmark and they have little choice regarding the childcare they are allocated. In our family experience they were allocated a child minder and not the same one for their two children! Then at 3 they have to go to the allocated kindergarten. They do not get to choose if they stay in the state system (there is limited private choice as well but very expensive as minimum wages are so high) and there is a lot of government control. ~So there are pros and cons for any system. Denmark does have one of the highest % of working women but also high taxes.

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