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Your views on the government's plans to extend childcare support, please!

(126 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 07-Oct-11 09:03:30

Morning all. We need your help - and your opinions please!

You may have seen/heard today's news that the government has just announced an extra £300m to help with childcare costs when the universal credit starts in 2013.

According to the reports, parents on low incomes who are working less than 16 hours a week will be eligible for this childcare support - which, it's thought, is going to be worth up to £175 a week for one child and £300 for two or more, and will benefit 80,000 families receiving universal credit.

You can read more about it all here and here.

We have been asked what Mumsnet thinks about these new plans - so we'd love to know. Do please tell...

Thanks, MNHQ

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 07-Oct-11 09:35:54

I cant see how this will assist the economy in any way, whatever little somebody working less than 16 hours pays in tax will be far far lower than any credit they get back.

I'm all for helping with childcare costs but thought the reason behind helping them was to assist with the few expensive years of childcare whereby after the parent wont need as much assistance and will continue to pay into the pot. Somebody working less than 16 hours is always like to need state support to survive so its gaining nothing.

I thought we wanted people to be self sufficient, this will simply encourage far more than we have already working the bare min whilst others pay for their lifestyle choice.

WipsGlitter Fri 07-Oct-11 09:36:14

It's great for low income families. But what about the infamous "squeezed middle". We have a good combined income but are still shelling out £1400 per month on daycare. It's a real stretch. Our "free" pre-school place has ended up costing us money as we have to pay the daycare to take and collect DS1 from school. Better wrap-around care would help.

WidowWadman Fri 07-Oct-11 09:48:18

What about those families with two fulltime working parents where the combined income pushes them over the threshold for childcare support and other help, but the childcare costs then mean that they have less disposable income than if one of the parents gave up work?

RhinoKey Fri 07-Oct-11 09:50:16

What about parents that are carers too?

I would love to go back to work, but with a SN child its almost impossible. The only Childminder I could find wanted to charge me £7 an hour for wrap around care for DS, and I have two other children, I would be paying double what I earned. In Nottinghamshire we had the ill-fated DCATCH project, which was supposed to help parents of disabled children access childcare. It worked in some cases but was then scrapped under the coalitions cuts. I want to work, and if I work for nothing because of childcare costs then that is fine. My career was important and I want to work, but I cant afford to pay to work.

PrincessScrumpy Fri 07-Oct-11 09:51:15

wipsglitter completely agree. I have to give up work as I've had twins. Obviously two babies was a big surprise and I love them lots but we only planned for one more dc so baby would start nursery as dd1 went to school in September 2012 and I would be back at work. Putting the twins in nursery will be more than I earn so not worth me working. Money will be tight on one salary and friends on benefits will be a lot better off than us - seems a little unfair to me.

tabulahrasa Fri 07-Oct-11 09:54:48

Meh, is what I think

extra money for childcare's all well and good and I know people who have turned down jobs because they're 15 hours instead of the 16 that qualifies you for help, so that's fine in itself, but...

They'd be better putting money into creating affordable childcare in the first place, where I am, once children are in school, you're stuffed for childcare. There's a massive shortage of childminders who will do school pick ups, there's one childcare provider - they have a massive waiting list, so you have to be there at school pick up time, which of course massively limits your job choices.

And of course, childcare stops when your child is 12...

WidowWadman Fri 07-Oct-11 10:05:36

tabulahrasa - Well, I don't think a normal twelve year old needs a childminder or wrap-around care anymore - so I don't have a problem with stopping the provision then.

I think though it's bonkers that if, hypothetically, your combined income is, say, 43k, with one earning 21K and the other 22K, you're over the threashold for help, but with a childcare bill of 1K/month you end up in a situation where it'll get more difficult to pay all the bills, than if one of you gave up work.

That's less income for the revenue through tax/NI and more costs through benefits claimed, so it really it makes no sense

RogerMelly Fri 07-Oct-11 10:12:54

I am in the same position to RhinoKey and despite having a degree and lots of industry experience I am unable to work due to carers not being supported to work. There are all sorts of carers rights where social services are suppossed to legally support you to work but they wont. They wont even provide basic respite so they are not going to support what they class as 'childcare' hmm

Also, as someone who has in the past taken on minimum wage jobs, and have managed people in minimum wage jobs, alot of women and men who work under 16 hours a week fall below the tax threshold and I imagine will not qualify for support anyway? and also allot of people take those jobs because they are flexible around your other commitments (spouses hours of work, school hours, term time, nights etc)

I don't suppose any of central government have any idea how these kkind of family structures work though. David Cameron had a disabled child but that hasn't stopped by central and local governments making cuts to the most vulnerable children within our areas, cutting respite and cutting the nhs. He may well have understood the emotional impact that having a disabled child brings but I doubt very much he or his wife understand the domestic and financial implications for the vast majority of carers in this country.

dreamingbohemian Fri 07-Oct-11 10:14:54

I think child care should be subsidised so that it's cheaper for everyone at point of service, although still on a sliding scale so that lower-income pays less.

I think tying childcare to hours worked not only makes things very complex but starts adding counterproductive incentives to people's work choices.

I think the government has a responsibility to ease childcare costs and enable people to work because it is not really doing anything about the high cost of living (particularly in the area of housing and transport) which is putting so much financial pressure on families to have both parents work.

tabulahrasa Fri 07-Oct-11 10:18:28

Most 12 year olds should of course be fine for a while before or after school, but I think it's a massive issue for school holidays and it doesn't exist then either.

It's also a massive issue if you have a 12 yr old who isn't fine to be alone, but you can't find childcare for them either. <has tried>

dreamingbohemian Fri 07-Oct-11 10:19:33

And I think Roger makes a good point about the people making these decisions not having any real idea of what life is like for lots of people. I know for example, dealing with housing benefits and tax credits in the past, that if you are anything other than a permanent employee with a set number of hours and salary, the system has all sorts of problems dealing with you and it can get very stressful.

That's why I think the childcare providers should be subsidised rather than creating complicated bureaucratic relationships with all the people needing childcare (surely it's simpler to fund the nursery than figure out how to fund all the different people using the nursery?)

WidowWadman Fri 07-Oct-11 10:25:13

dreamingbohemian "I know for example, dealing with housing benefits and tax credits in the past, that if you are anything other than a permanent employee with a set number of hours and salary, the system has all sorts of problems dealing with you and it can get very stressful."

That is so true!

vess Fri 07-Oct-11 10:26:14

Argee with subsidised childcare at the point of service. Most European countries have that.

tranquilitygardens Fri 07-Oct-11 10:31:36

I think it is a good idea for low earning parents, all for it, can't wait to see what they have prepared as childcare for year 7, aged 11 children and upwards, who a parent considers is not able to stay alone when the parent goes out to work, there are serious shortfalls here in my opion. The law is not clear in age, they say if the parent thinks the child is sensible enough, well what if the child is not sensible enough, where is the childcare?

MrsHeffley Fri 07-Oct-11 11:05:36

I answered on the thread below.

Not enough support for mums who wish to stay at home to do so.Not all mums want to go out to work,not all kids suit childcare.The needs of many kids and SAHP just aren't important to this gov in fact they seem to be very anti SAHP inferring that if you stay at home you contribute nothing to society.

I personally feel the money would be better spent on enabling all mums to make a choice which suits their family.

Quite clearly being a SAHP is only something you're entitled to do if you're rich and something the rest of us just aren't worthy enough to consider.

tranquilitygardens Fri 07-Oct-11 11:07:04

Mrs Heffley, I agree with you there.

SausageSmuggler Fri 07-Oct-11 11:21:25

dreaming bohemian you've hit the nail on the head with that one (what widowwadman quoted).

I think fair enough it will help a lot of people but I agree with the others who have said childcare should be subsidised rather than trying to enforce such a complicated system.

I do also think that while the 15 hours childcare is fantastic it's not very helpful for those who need to access childcare for their under 3 year olds. Particularly if there is 2 or more children under 3 in the family. I currently pay £400 a month for 2 days of childcare, when my next child arrives and needs it too it's not going to be enough for me to think 'thats ok, it's only 18 months til DS gets a funded place at nursery'.

SausageSmuggler Fri 07-Oct-11 11:23:36

P.S I realise £400 isn't very much compared to what others have to pay but with our income its a massive chunk out of it.

WidowWadman Fri 07-Oct-11 11:27:22

MrsHeffley - yes, let's throw more money at tieing women to the kitchen because that's where they belong enabling mums to stay at home if they want to, rather than trying to help people to stay in gainful employment if they want to.

Sevenfold Fri 07-Oct-11 11:31:34

wonder if this will cover childcare for disabled children.
oh hang on no as £175 a week won't even pay for 3 days

StillSquiffy Fri 07-Oct-11 11:31:38

Govt policies continue to divide population into very wealthy/squeezed middle/low income, and all govt policies seem to be stuck on reaffirming these criteria. Far better that they rip up all the rules and try to start again on 'point of service' support rather than tax system deduced support. You need to encourage economic and social mobility and this is not the way to do it. It simply throws more red tape at the problem, doesn't resolve the issues around consistency and quality of childcare and still leaves us with the main issue that holds back GDP growth and a happier society - being that we live in a country where women with brains find themselves unable to use them because the working economy is rewarded for forcing people to work for 50/60/70 hours a week - fix that and lots of problems fall away immediately.

And you fix the main problem by introducing social reforms that limit working weeks, reward companies for hiring part time staff and simplyfying the tax and legal system (even by potentially classifying small/medium/large businesses and relaxing some of the more onerous employment laws).

It is utter madness that a working couple lose ALL of one full-time salary in order to support their childcare needs. But when that one person stops working the cummulative cost to the economy is worth up to 6 X that salary (as the money circulates downwards).

When whole factories close you hear people wail at the fact that say 15,000 people lose their jobs indirectly when a factory emplying 2,000 closes. Now multiply that up to account for the, say, ?? 2 million ?? parents who give up work to bring up their kids because it's not worthwhile to work when they effectively lose all their net income for maybe 8-10 years....

MrsHeffley Fri 07-Oct-11 11:35:31

So caring for your own(mother/father) tiny babies and toddlers is tying women to the kitchen sinkhmm.

Being at home with your own children is valuable for many. Not all kids/families suit both parents working. Don't these kids count?

I work but it's a massive stress.Not all kids,families and couples are equipped to cope with it(as I said on the thread below)..Most of us can't afford a nanny who comes to the house but have to take whatever childcare there is,run ourselves ragged dropping off.Not many of us have fat cat salaries like the Tories to enable us to stay at home if we wish.

The scathing attitude to SAHP is shocking.I know several stay at home dads/mums,they do a fantastic job.It's the best for their kids and their choice.

Unfortunately many are being denied this choice

dreamingbohemian Fri 07-Oct-11 11:39:42

widow and sausage It is crazy, isn't it? It doesn't even need to be that complicated before they freak out. And yet it's the people needing benefits who are more likely to work part-time, or occasionally, or have different hours every week.

The reality of existing in that bureaucracy is such that I really don't think it's a good idea to keep tying things to it.

mrsheffley If a family has a SAHP and they are struggling, then they should be eligible for tax credits or housing benefits or other income-based benefits. Paying for childcare is not really about rewarding parental choices, it's about reality -- the government wants everyone to work but some people can't afford to work because childcare is too expensive. If you decide not to work then you don't need childcare. If you are still struggling, then there are benefits for low-income.

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