My feed

to access all these features

MNHQ have commented on this thread

Site stuff

Your views on parents

23 replies

carriemumsnet · 20/04/2008 21:36

Hi all

We've been asked by ITN to comment on a report coming out tomorrow, that basically suggests offering a weekly payment of £50-60 for each child you have from birth until 3 - not means tested, payable to all - same amount per child no matter how many you have.

To pay for this - they'd need to scrap the childcare element of the Working Tax Credit, the electronic vouchers and the one-off Sure Start Maternity Grant and providing instead a universal Parental Care Allowance (PCA) to parents caring with children of 0-3 years.

There was an article about it in today's Observer here and if anyone has the patience/enthusiasm, there's a full summary of the proposals below.

What do you think of it?
Would it make the difference between you going to work/staying at home?
Would scrapping the stuff they'd need to scrap make a difference to you?

Have to talk to them tomorrow Mon at 11ish - so be great to get your thoughts.


Here's the (longish) summary:

Proposals for reform

Little Britons proposes that funding support for childcare should follow the child and not be linked to childcare institutions or to parents work so that those parents who prefer informal care, such as relatives or childminders, or to look after their babies and toddlers themselves, are also supported.

The proposal requires scrapping the childcare element of the Working Tax Credit, the electronic vouchers and the one-off Sure Start Maternity Grant and providing instead a universal Parental Care Allowance (PCA) to parents caring with children of 0-3 years.

· £50-60 per week paid direct to all parents with children of 0-3. This is in line with parental care allowances in other European countries at around 15-20 per cent of GDP per capita and is equivalent to around 40 per cent of average income from the average part-time job.

· Payable from birth or after maternity pay has ceased until the child starts to use early years services in the first term after the third birthday. Those receiving a maternity package are already financially supported and the PCA should not commence until that support ceases, either through returning to work or electing to stay at home to look after the child. All 3 year olds are eligible for Early Years Entitlement which, with a target of 20 hours per week, provides childcare as well as educational development.

· Not tapered, meaning that the same amount is paid to each child no matter how many children are in the family. Tapering adds complexity.

· Not taxed. Taxing the PCA might act as a deterrent to work for low income families.

· Administered through Child Benefit. At £55, this payment, in addition to child benefit, would mean a weekly, universal, non-taxed cash payment for children under 3 of £73.80.

Dr Catherine Hakim again: The proposal would be simple to administer, get into the right hands, allow parents to choose from a variety of childcare options (including staying at home), and provide carers with supplemental income if they give up work. Sure Start would still have a role, providing information and support for parenting, especially for the neediest parents.

How to pay for it

Assuming 100 per cent take-up of the new PCA, this is a £5.4 billion proposal if it is untaxed (£4.1 billion if it is taxed). This is significantly more than is currently paid out through the childcare element of the Working Tax Credit, the electronic vouchers and Sure Start Maternity Grant. The authors of the report believe these schemes, combined with savings on administration costs, more use of private and voluntary day nurseries, tapering away the family element of the Child Tax Credit and reassessing Child Benefit for 16-18 year-olds, would meet the vast bulk of the costs of the universal scheme they propose. However, if government increased spending on children to 1.5 per cent of GDP, in line with Scandinavian countries, it could easily cover the cost of this policy recommendation.

Natalie Evans summarized the reports analysis and recommendations: The present arrangements for childcare in the UK are not flexible enough to meet the needs of todays varied family structures and working hours. Rather than funding institutions, money should follow children. British parents, like those in France and Scandinavia, need more childcare choice. A simple, across-the-board childcare payment through the Child Benefit system is the way forward. It allows women who want to work to do so, and gives women the option to stay at home if that is what they believe is in their childs best interests at the start of their life.

OP posts:
SmugColditz · 20/04/2008 21:45

But that means if you spend it on £4 an hour childcare for a £5.50 an hour job, you are working for £1.50 an hour, with no other help, doesn't it? So, you spend £60 on 15 hours childcare, you can earn (including travelling times) 12 hours x £5.50 = £66.

It's great for those returning to a good job, but if you're job is a bottom rung job, it's not worth going back to - whereas, the scheme in use now benefits you going back to work.

coppertop · 20/04/2008 21:53

Tbh my first thought on reading through the proposals is that this is another policy which takes money away from the poorest parents (Surestart grant and working tax credits) to pass it on to those who may not financially need it.

policywonk · 20/04/2008 21:57

Well I wish they weren't calling it 'Little Britons'. You can imagine what sort of self-satisfied Tory-boy came up with that.

I like the idea in principle. I already stay at home with the kids, but this amount of money would have made quite a lot of difference to our finances (my children are too old to qualify now).

Don't like the fact that it stops at 3 - should continue until school age.

Don't know what the Sure Start maternity grant is, but my understanding (mostly from Polly Toynbee articles ) is that Sure Start has made a big difference in areas of child poverty, so I'd be wary of making cuts to that. Also don't like the sound of 'tapering' child tax credit and 'reassessing' child benefit for older children. Basically I'd need to be reassured that this wouldn't result in a reduction in overall payments to the poorest families.

southeastastra · 20/04/2008 22:00

yes of course women should be paid to look after the under fives at home.

PeachesMcLean · 20/04/2008 22:02

I do not see why this should be paid to all parents regardless of income. The whole point about the things they're proposing to scrap is that they help the people who need it most. Let's say my DH is a city barrister or a hedge fund manager. And the conservatives are planning to give us more!!!??

evenhope · 20/04/2008 22:03

Sounds like we'd lose more than we'd gain.

"tapering away the family element of the Child Tax Credit" that is the £40 pm most people get

"reassessing Child Benefit for 16-18 year-olds" usually means taking it away.. 16-18 yo s cost much much more than under 3's

The report in the link also mentioned doing away with the free nursery provision for 3-4 yo s

Personally £60 a week wouldn't be enough to enable me to work PT or not work, so wouldn't help us at all. And that's before I include the loss of ChB for my 16 yo, losing my nursery vouchers and the CTC. No we'd be worse off.

ruddynorah · 20/04/2008 22:06

well that idea will give me 4 times as much as i get now, we get the minimum child tax credit, £45 a month ish. we don't need it though. i'd reduce my hours at work if we did get this extra money, but it wouldnt go into childcare, i work back to back with dh.

PeachesMcLean · 20/04/2008 22:06

"Worries about their children's welfare are a bigger deterrent to women working than childcare costs, the report concludes, suggesting that making childcare cheaper will not solve their dilemma"

And these changes will resolve that how?

£150 for a nursery place is a Big Problem if you need to return to work.

FluffyMummy123 · 20/04/2008 22:07

Message withdrawn

DontDreamItBeIt · 20/04/2008 22:12

Agree with coppertop and SmugColditz.

cornsilk · 20/04/2008 22:16

I think whatever payment made should continue till they leave higher education. Parents could well find themselves in a difficult financial position if they depend on a payment like that to stay at home, assuming they'll go back to work when chn are 3, then when that time comes it may not be an option due to childcare costs.

DontDreamItBeIt · 20/04/2008 22:19

Just re read the article and summary.

I am a sahm. We have chosen to survive ona low income in order for me to do this. I would/could not change this for £55 a week.
Scrapping free nursery for 3-4 year olds would be a disaster for my ds, as sadly if I had the cash instead, it would probablly get eaten up by bills and he would get less than 5 days nursery.
I did recieve the SureStart Maternity Grant, and it would be very sadly missed by parents o a low income.

gloriana · 20/04/2008 22:24

This sounds like an excellent idea from my perspective. I have 3 children under 7 and have recently given up work for my children's welfare (principal reason). Money is now very tight and I would welcome the extra money for my 2 yr old.

I also know of situations where mums would like to give some money to a family member who looks after their child, but there is no way to officially. The extra money would enable mums to give money to grandmothers/aunts etc who participate in childcare.

Heated · 20/04/2008 22:31

I like the simplicity of the idea; dealing with the WTC people whilst on mat leave and various different agencies is a complicated pita and if it was in one simple payment, great.

But we earn just above the current qualifying cut off point for WTC so while this would benefit us in a I'm all right jack kind of way, what about people who earn less?

IneedacleanerIamalazyslattern · 20/04/2008 22:36

If they are talking about scrapping free nursery places for 3-4 year olds then why on earth are the suggesting they stop paying this at 4

re-assesing child benefit for 16-18 year olds- this plus the paymet some councils give to children to stay on at school could make the difference to some families as to whether the teen has to go out to work for the wage or whether they can stay on at school.

Sure Start Grant- I got this with dd and I agree with don't dream it would be something sadly missed by a lot of low income families. Yes the £50-£60 a week for 3 years equates to more cash but that £500 one of payment when you have a baby coming can make all the difference.

Also I live in a reasonably remote area with fewer job choices thatn in the city and in the past when we were less financially secure losing that money at age 3 would have been a very noticable part of our income lost but because of lack of suitable jobs and child care I still would have struggled to get back to work.

It does seem to be taking money away from those who need it and giving more to those who are a bit more finacnially stable, bit Robin Hood in Reverse.

Heathcliffscathy · 20/04/2008 22:40

I like the thought that government policy would encourage parents or relatives to care for under 3s. however, it should be income linked, so that the poorest got more, enough to make it worthwhile staying at home OR enough to pay for good quality consistent childcare (a nanny or childminder). as it is, it does neither.

i do think that the emphasis on getting mothers out to work and children into nursery is wrong. govt policy should foster choice, atm it doesn't.

edam · 20/04/2008 22:48

Not too keen on robbing the poor to fund the well-off, tbh. I know universality is cheap to administer, but would be a very bad idea if they fund it by stopping the Sure Start maternity grant.

SaintGeorge · 20/04/2008 22:49

If they scrap the childcare element of WTC, what happens to those parents who work and make use of childcare after school hours for older children?

Might be ok for those with a child under 3, but childcare costs don't stop on the 3rd birthday.

SmugColditz · 21/04/2008 08:22

The Sure Start maternity grant is desperatly needed in most cases. I got it for ds1, and I had to have a cot I was given because I had to spend it on some carpet for his bedroom, some kind of floor for the living room (we were on concrete) and second hand bits and bobs for the baby. And I was grateful, it really helped, but it wasn't a bonus to be frittered, it was NEEDED.

We need MORE help for the working poor, not less. This scheme will leave them in exactly the same position as benefits claimants, financially.

Anna8888 · 21/04/2008 08:28

I think this is an excellent proposal because (a) it does not discriminate between mothers who earn (who can use the extra cash towards childcare) and mothers who wish to stay at home to care for their child (and forfeit their salary) (b) everyone can understand how much they will receive and for how long.

PortAndLemon · 21/04/2008 08:30

I think it's a bad idea -- not well targeted at all, and I agree that it seems to assume that childcare costs stop after the third birthday, which is blatant nonsense.

oiFoiF · 21/04/2008 08:34

I agree with colditz. I do a bottm rung job and it has to worked aroubnd dhs job because there would be no point going into work othwerwise as childcare isa too expensive, apart from the point I need to. Instead of scrapping wtc maybe very affordable childcare should be available in every town and village...I forgot thats too difficult to work and long term goals are never important are they

carriemumsnet · 21/04/2008 09:49

Thanks so much for your comments - posted inspite of the fact that I failed to finish typing the title of the thread

Sadly ITN just called to say they no longer required our services, but thanks again for the speedy response.

OP posts:
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.