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Universal credit attacks stay at home mums

(10 Posts)
Kamakura Fri 12-Nov-10 16:57:33

The welfare reforms look like an attack on stay-at-home mums who are used to receiving child tax credits. Under the proposals, parents would have to make a joint claim for the universal credit, with both working or making themselves available to work if the youngest child is over 5. If the youngest is over 1, then the main carer would still have to turn up for job centre interviews to discuss how he or she plans to return to work in future. That's a real difference from the child tax credit system where only one person in a couple needs to be working, and I think it really limits parental choice. In my case, the changes would force me out to work but would also mean my husband would have to reduce his long hours, so that we'd qualify for the credit while also being able to juggle our kids between us. What do you all think?

huddspur Fri 12-Nov-10 17:02:37

It sounds like the Government is seeking to end subsidising SAHPs which I think is a good thing.

anastaisia Fri 12-Nov-10 17:04:17

link to the White Paper page 68

Family Assessment
9. Universal Credit will be assessed on a ‘household’ basis taking account of the income and capital of a single adult or two adults who live as a couple (whether married or in a civil partnership or living together as if married or in a civil partnership). Any income or capital of a dependent child will be disregarded.
10. We assume that ordinarily with a joint claim, only one of the partners would receive the Universal Credit payment. However we will consider the scope to arrange payments to parents in couples, so that support for children goes to
the mother or main carer, as now in Tax Credits.

Does it?

anastaisia Fri 12-Nov-10 17:08:22

sorry, posted too soon!

Does it 'attack' stay at home paretns - or does it just say, we'll offer you support to have a parent at home till age 5 if you have an income under a certain amount but then ask you to be prepared to support your own family or do some paid work and we'll still continue to support you if you only work part time?

There are things that bother me about the paper, but it's more the carers money, housing benefit caps etc.

DooinMeCleanin Fri 12-Nov-10 17:11:12

I'm all for them ending subsidising SAHP so long as they:

ensure that adquate and affordable childcare is accessable to everyone (even those who are unskilled and have little choice but to take shift work so that would pretty much mean 24 hour childcare)

ensure that the minimum wage is high enough to cover said childcare while leaving a little extra. No-one is going to work just to pay childcare costs. That would be pointless.

Ensure that this childcare provides care in the same way a parent would (so help with homework, ferrying to after school activities and help with any extras that come with after school activities)

ensure that employers are sympathetic to parents childcare issues when a child is sick. And that they still recieve some pay for staying home with a sick child, afterall there is still the childcare bill to pay, whether the child is sick or not.

Ensure that these jobs actually exist because last time I checked there was a serious shortage of jobs.

Ensure that suitable childcare is available for those with disabled or SEN children.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 12-Nov-10 17:15:16

Every family should have the opportunity to have one parent at home while they have pre-school aged children, but once the youngest is 5 then things change.

I will reserve judgement about the main carer of over 1s having to go to job centre interviews until more detail is made clear, but if it helps SAHPs plan, and more importantly train and qualify so that when the time comes they have some employable skills then that sounds like a good thing in principle.

Kamakura Fri 12-Nov-10 17:20:45

This is what the White Paper says in the third section on conditions for getting the universal credit:

"Couples with children whose youngest child has reached the age of five, and where neither partner is disabled or has a health condition which prevents them working or is a carer, will need to make a joint claim to Jobseeker’s Allowance, requiring both partners to actively seek work."

I just don't think it makes sense to insist that both parents work. They could easily insist that a couple, between them, work a certain number of hours, and then it's up to the couple to decide how they split that. (As happens with the child tax credits). Every family's situation is different.. I don't object to them increasing the number of hours they expect to be worked - I just think it should be left to the couple to decide how they manage that.

DooinMeCleanin Fri 12-Nov-10 17:21:06

But who will care for the over 5's when they finish school, if both parents are working?

I plan on starting college when dd2 starts f/t school so that I can find work that will pay enough to cover the cost of childcare.

If everyone took work that pays enough to cover childcare - who is going to provide all these high skilled, high paid jobs and who is going to do the menial, but necessary unskilled shift work?

anastaisia Fri 12-Nov-10 17:41:13

Children
38. The Government is committed to providing the financial support less-well-off families need to cover children’s living costs. We will therefore include fixed amounts within Universal Credit to provide for these costs. The amounts will be based on those currently provided through Child Tax Credit. They will be additional to Child Benefit.

39. The Government will consider the structure of support for disabled children in the Universal Credit as we look at the structure for disabled adults.

40. The Government intends to keep the current principle in benefits and Tax Credits that, where parents are separated and provide shared care, only one of them will
be eligible to receive the child element of Universal Credit.

Childcare

41. Ensuring that parents continue to receive financial support with the costs of childcare is crucial if they are to have an incentive to work. Parents in receipt
of Working Tax Credits can currently receive additional support through the Childcare Element which, from April 2011, will pay up to 70 per cent of costs up
to a maximum of £175 a week for one child and £300 for two or more children.

42. We recognise that people often find the current childcare element confusing.
The need to calculate average awards can be particularly complicated. Covering only a proportion of costs and paying this as part of the overall benefit award can cause uncertainty about how much support parents receive. The new system provides an opportunity to improve and simplify the way support is offered but we need to ensure that it remains fair, affordable and targeted to those most in need.

43. The Government would welcome views from key stakeholders and will work with them to establish how support for childcare could best be delivered as part of, or alongside, Universal Credit. In developing options, the Government will take account of the evidence collected from recent pilots designed to test different ways of accessing the childcare element of Tax Credits.

44. As a minimum, it would be feasible to pay an additional element for childcare on top of the basic Universal Credit award, at similar rates to those currently offered, but to simplify the way costs are calculated and support is paid. If information about costs was collected through a self-service process this could improve the timeliness of support and reduce the scope for under and overpayments.
45. But there may be better approaches. For example:
• providing support for childcare through a voucher or discount system, rather than as part of the Universal Credit award;
• recognising childcare through an additional earnings disregard rather than
an additional payment.

46. Help with childcare for people on Universal Credit would be restricted to those
in work. The aim would be to allocate some of the current support to those
working fewer than 16 hours, so that all types of work are rewarded.

anastaisia Fri 12-Nov-10 17:44:30

people need to respond to the consultation that will probably be on the DWP website to make suggestions like why not state hours and let couple decide, or concerns about childcare.

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