Jenny Willott on free childcare from 12 months

jenny willottJenny Willott is the Minister for Women, covering for Jo Swinson while she is on maternity leave. In an interview with the Independent on Sunday she said that extending childcare to babies would be expensive but “it may well be that it’s the right thing to do”.

The article points out that there is a “maternity gap” between the end of maternity leave and the point when free childcare kicks in for three year olds. In response Jenny said:

It may well be that that’s something the Government needs to look at. The issue is that it is extremely expensive. It may well be that it’s the right thing to do. But it’s as with every big public spending commitment, it’s a toss-up between if you’ve got the money is that the best thing to put it into or is something else the best thing to put it into.

For families with lower incomes, they are eligible for childcare tax credits. The numbers of people that are caught in that gap are more limited, but it may be something that a future government needs to look at, it may be something for the parties to look at in their manifestos.

She is also concerned about recruitment practices and is holding a round table discussion  with City headhunters next month. It seems that for public sector jobs, while only 20% of the names proposed by headhunters are women, this rises to 40% where candidates can apply directly. She asks:

At which point do women drop out? Is it because they don’t have a big enough pool of women that they’re picking from? Or is it because women aren’t putting themselves forward?

You can read the full article here.

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in News.
Advert

50 Comments

  • Gemma Stockford 11th Mar '14 - 10:08am

    This is a critical issue for young mothers trying to go back to work. Even when not on low enough income to get tax credits the cost of child care is a massive problem. This will affect our future because if young mothers who wish to work cannot their work skills and career will be affected for the rest of their life.

  • Children are expensive. That’s not a secret. People should consider whether they are able to afford not just childcare but all the other ways in which children are expensive before they decide to become parents.

    It is not the job of the rest of us to subsidise the life choices of others.

    Liberalism says we should let them make their choices, but it doesn’t say we have to pay for them.

  • Eddie Sammon 11th Mar '14 - 12:39pm

    State money should go towards child poverty, not to people who could look after their own children. I don’t think forcing single parents into work is a good idea. Maybe this is the best compromise, but the whole area of benefits and childcare needs looking at again.

  • Liberal Neil 11th Mar '14 - 2:43pm

    Tim – it’s not that simple though. If childcare is too expensive one of the parents will stop work rather than pay for it. The net cost to taxpayers may well be higher as a result.

  • The net cost to taxpayers may well be higher as a result

    I struggle to see how that could be the case. Surely if the parent in question is earning so much that the taxes on their income would cover the cost of the childcare, they can afford to pay for the childcare themselves?

    Do you have figures to show me what I’m missing?

  • A Social Liberal 11th Mar '14 - 3:44pm

    Childcare is too expensive, just as private renting of housing is too expensive. However, we do not want to throw money at the former in the same way as we are doing with housing benefit.

    There are three ways we can tackle this. first, we can throw more and more money at parents and allow childcare companies to rip us off more and more (in the same way as private landlords are ripping us all off) – this is unacceptable. We could therefore go in completely the other direction and not adequately provide for our parents – this similarly is unacceptable.

    The third way (God, I sound like Neu Labour) is to both regulate the amount childcare can be charged at but also to give councils grants to set up childcare provision, undercutting the rip-off merchants.

  • And also remember this would take a truly massive amount of expenditure. Are you really saying that that would all be made back by parents suddenly able (and willing) to go to work?

    If not, then it will require either cuts to other services, or tax rises, or both, and that is what I object to: my taxes shouldn’t rise to pay for the freely made life choices of others.

  • Tim

    There is a clear benefit to the taxpayer of people being in work. In 2007 then David (now Lord) Freud did an analysis for DWP which estimated moving someone into work from not in work benefited the taxpayer by between £8000 and £9000 (though to be fair this was looking largely at those claiming benefits which won’t always be the case with parents dropping out of work to pay for childcare).
    http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Politics/documents/2007/03/05/welfarereviewreport.pdf

    The Family and Day Care Trust, in their most recent cost survey for childcare estimated that average childcare costs at about £101.97 a week. That’s roughly £5302 a year.
    http://www.daycaretrust.org.uk/data/files/Research/costs_surveys/Holiday_Childcare_Costs_Report_2013.pdf

    Admittedly those are a bit back of the fag packet figures but illustrate the point that someone dropping out of work to care for children is a net cost to the taxpayer. It also doesn’t account for the significant evidence that childcare, and particularly early years education settings, have a huge impact on things like future attainment of the child and can have a knock on effect on things such as unemployment, crime and health – all of which obviously have costs to them. I suggest looking at the Highscope Perry Preschool project from the US on this point.

    Finally- parents who drop out of the workforce (be they mothers or fathers, but sadly usually mothers) will also likely end up earning less over their lifetime as a result and are likely to retire at a lower level than they would have if they had felt able to stay in work- not only is that a loss of talent and ideas, but it’s also likely to mean them paying less tax over their lifetime.

    There is little doubt that investing heavily in supporting parents with childcare costs is of huge collective benefit in the short, medium and long term.

  • Admittedly those are a bit back of the fag packet figures but illustrate the point that someone dropping out of work to care for children is a net cost to the taxpayer.

    But if that were the case, then surely this policy (of free childcare from 12 months) should be a net gain to the taxpayer. In which case there’s no problem with it.

    But all the evidence suggests that this policy would in fact be a net drain on the taxpayer, and require either cuts to other services, tax rises, or both. Is that not the case?

    Given that, how can there be a moral case for raising taxes, or cutting services form those who need them, to support the freely-made life choices of parents (who should have considered the cost before they decided to become parents)?

    parents who drop out of the workforce (be they mothers or fathers, but sadly usually mothers) will also likely end up earning less over their lifetime as a result and are likely to retire at a lower level than they would have if they had felt able to stay in work

    And that is their own freely-made choice. It is nobody’s business but theirs. It is certainly not the taxpayer’s to protect them from the economic consequences of their choice to become parents.

  • Childcare is too expensive, just as private renting of housing is too expensive

    Surely the cost of childcare is determined simply by supply and demand? How then can it be ‘too expensive’? The price is determined by what people are willing to pay and how many providers there are.

    The third way (God, I sound like Neu Labour) is to both regulate the amount childcare can be charged at

    Given the price is a function of supply and demand, the fact it is high means that demand must be outstripping supply, yes? But if you impose price controls, then fewer people will think it’s worthwhile setting up a nursery, so supply will go down, yes? So there will be more children chasing even fewer nursery places, yes? So how will that help?

    but also to give councils grants to set up childcare provision, undercutting the rip-off merchants

    It seems to me that childcare must be an area with very low barriers to entry. What do you need to set up a nursery? Just qualified staff and space, right? Maybe some crayons.

    Have I missed something?

    So if there are ‘rip-off merchants’ why would councils need to undercut them?

    Unless there’s a shortage of qualified staff. Is that the case? In which case, how could councils run nurseries and cheaper, as they will have to pay staff the going rate or the staff will all go work in private nurseries. So it won’t be possible for the councils to undercut the private nurseries, unless the councils run their nurseries at a loss subsidised either by local or national taxation, in which case we’re back to the immorality of taxpayers like me having to shoulder the burden of other people’s life choices.

  • A Social Liberal 11th Mar '14 - 4:33pm

    Yes – you have missed a huge something Tim. the propensity for human beings to become greedy. They see a market (ie a shortage of childcare places), see that parents will be willing to pay over the odds in order to place their little ones somewhere, anywhere so that they can get back to work and so set up a new kiddie farm charging a little more than the competitors. Their target client is captive – they can’t go anywhere else because the competition is full up, and so Robert is your fathers brother and another cash cow is born.

  • “………..the freely-made life choices of parents (who should have considered the cost before they decided to become parents)..”

    I assume that the author of thinks we live in a world where nobody gets sick and dies through no fault of their own, nobody becomes a widow through no fault of their own, nobody who has children dies in the forces in a foreign land so that idiots can express ridiculous views back home, nobody dies at work through the negligence of their employer, nobody dies in a car crash through no fault of their own, nobody dies as a result of some mindless thug attacking them in the street. Everybody widow or widower who brings up children in these circumstances deserves everything they get when their partner dies, because they “freely made a life choice and should have considered the cost before they decided to become parents”.

    It does not sound like the real world and he does not sound ike a Liberal.

  • A Social Liberal 11th Mar '14 - 4:41pm

    Tim

    there is a great deal that childcare operators have to do in order to get a sufficiently high mark from Ofsted. Learning and Development is only one area, there are quite a few more.

  • Is the proposal to provide free childcare only for children of parents in distress, or for everyone?

  • <iI assume that the author of thinks we live in a world where [examples of changing circumstances]

    Of course circumstances can change, but that’s not what is being discussed here. What is being discussed here is a universal benefit to all parents, to compensate them for choosing to become parents: a choice they should have known at the time would incur a significant financial cost, and that they should not have taken unless they were sure they could bear they cost.

    Of course unforeseeable events do happen and those who responsibly work out the cost of being parents and who, through no fault of their own, find their circumstances changed so that they are no longer able to shoulder those responsibilities certainly deserve help, and that is what the welfare system is for.

    But a universal benefit for all parents is not that. It’s just the state subsidising people’s life choices. And if the state is going to subsidise people for choosing to become parents, why doesn’t it subsidise me when I jack in my career to play in a rock and roll band?

  • Yes – you have missed a huge something Tim.

    Okay, what?

    They see a market (ie a shortage of childcare places), see that parents will be willing to pay over the odds in order to place their little ones somewhere, anywhere so that they can get back to work and so set up a new kiddie farm charging a little more than the competitors. Their target client is captive – they can’t go anywhere else because the competition is full up, and so Robert is your fathers brother and another cash cow is born.

    But that’s just supply and demand, isn’t it? Supply is limited, there is a lot of demand, so the price rises.

    If there are X nursery places, and Y children, and Y > X, then the price will rise to as much as the parents are willing to pay.

    How is that ‘paying over the odds? It seems to me it is paying exactly ‘the odds’, ie, the price that the market will bear!

    How else do you suppose places be allocated when demand exceeds supply?

  • “But all the evidence suggests that this policy would in fact be a net drain on the taxpayer, and require either cuts to other services, tax rises, or both. Is that not the case?”

    Which evidence are you quoting here? Yes subsidising childcare is a high cost issue, but that’s simply a question of priorities. The long term benefits of decent early year education (see Perry et al for starters) suggest that it’s actually one of the single best ways to spend Government money. That’s because, as Perry shows, the amount spent tackling the problems caused by a lack of early years education later on (such as a higher crime rate, higher unemployment etc) costs far more than the initial investment.

    Surely the purpose of Government is to identify where it is best to spend money and target it there? Yes it could mean higher spending in the short term/ or a transfer of money from elsewhere, but any intervention which costs money would have the same problem.

    “Surely the cost of childcare is determined simply by supply and demand? How then can it be ‘too expensive’? ”

    Of course something based on demand versus supply can be ‘too expensive’ – if there is a lack of supply!!

    However, while most markets automatically correct (as people come into the market to encourage supply), this is more difficult when it’s something like childcare. That’s because what the market will bare is based on what those who can afford childcare can pay and there are plenty of providers willing to serve them- so at the top level supply and demand balances out. However this leaves those on lower incomes dropping off the bottom end.

    In normal circumstances (such as a retail product) this would be redressed by someone coming in with either a cheaper but inferior product or a better process that makes the whole thing cheaper- catering to those with less to spend.

    However, this would not be helpful in childcare. The benefits of early years education on future attainment, crime etc require that it be of a reasonable quality. Quality means at least one graduate teacher in an early education setting- and those people command a higher salary. That means that an inferior product (i.e. less qualified) doesn’t make the investment worthwhile.

    Most parents also don’t particularly want to simply dump their children with someone who will stick them in front of the TV for 8 hours a day- so that mans prices are higher as well. So it’s not beneficial to have an inferior process either.

    That’s also why you can’t simply cap the amount someone can charge- because quality isn’t high enough as it is and we don’t want it to be worse.

    There are also issues such as flexibility. More and more people are working away from a standard 9 – 5 day, which means getting childcare outside normal working patterns. Child care providers (be they minders, nurseries, after-school clubs etc) who offer this can command a higher price as a result- but the number willing to do so hasn’t caught up with the demand for such.

    Finally, unlike most products, parents have an alternative option- giving up work and looking after the child themselves. This impacts the market in an unusual way (if you don’t want to spend money on consumer good, such as a car, you can’t just build one yourself- you have to decide whether or not you want to be able to drive). However, as shown above, this has a negative impact on tax receipts in both the short and medium term, and also loses the long term benefits of early years education.

  • Which evidence are you quoting here?

    Well, the evidence that implementing this policy would require either tax rises or cuts to other services or both.

    Yes it could mean higher spending in the short term/ or a transfer of money from elsewhere, but any intervention which costs money would have the same problem.

    Ah, well, I suppose then it depends what weighting you put on possible and putative benefits in the distant future versus sure and certain costs falling unjustly on non-parents in the here and now.

    Of course something based on demand versus supply can be ‘too expensive’ – if there is a lack of supply!!

    But then it’s not ‘too expensive’, is it? It’s the right price, ie, the market price that balances supply and demand. That being the definition of the correct price for a good, the price at which supply (in this case, supply of qualified staff, as that seems to be the limiting factor from your evidence) matches demand.

  • Finally, unlike most products, parents have an alternative option- giving up work and looking after the child themselves. This impacts the market in an unusual way (if you don’t want to spend money on consumer good, such as a car, you can’t just build one yourself- you have to decide whether or not you want to be able to drive).

    You certainly can build a car yourself: kit cars aren’t common but they are still available. And yes, you might have to give up work to concentrate on doing it, but that’s exactly the situation with childcare too. Indeed most consumer goods you always have the option of going without, if you don’t want to spend the money.

    And childcare is in fact more like a service than a consumer good, and there it’s definitely possible to do it yourself for most services, from cleaning your house (you can hire a cleaner or you can do it yourself) to doing your accounts (hire an accountant or do it yourself).

    So no, that isn’t the unusual factor in the childcare market. Quite the reverse in fact: the unusual factor in the childcare market is that you can’t (as with a car) simply decide to do without, you have to either employ someone to do it or do it yourself.

    Which is why you should be factoring into your decision whether to have children whether you can afford the childcare, and abstaining from doing so if you can’t afford it — not going ahead anyway and expecting taxpayers like me to pick up the bill for your desire to be a parent.

  • Tim – as I just explained- supply and demand does match for those at the top end- there are enough people who won’t struggle to pay to sustain those providers who are currently in the market. However, this means losing everyone who can’t afford the price and, as I also said, unlike many other products its very difficult to secure a cheaper version of the service which meets the various requirement needed for childcare to be public benefit (quality, flexibility etc).

    Yes of course you can buy a kit care- but you can’t design a car, smelt the parts etc- that’s the point I was making. And yes, most services (such as cleaning) are the same- but the majority of these don’t impact on someones ability to work, with all the net costs to the taxpayer that entails.

    Clear cut case. End of really!

  • Chris Manners 11th Mar '14 - 6:06pm

    “Which is why you should be factoring into your decision whether to have children whether you can afford the childcare, and abstaining from doing so if you can’t afford it — not going ahead anyway and expecting taxpayers like me to pick up the bill for your desire to be a parent.”

    You could look at it as the same taxpayer taking out from the system when they had young children and paying into it later when they didn’t. And indeed paying into it before they had the children.

    What’s wrong with that?

  • However, this means losing everyone who can’t afford the price and, as I also said, unlike many other products its very difficult to secure a cheaper version of the service which meets the various requirement needed for childcare to be public benefit (quality, flexibility etc).

    Well yes. That’s how supply and demand works. Obviously if demand exceeds supply then some people aren’t going to get some.

    That’s what ‘demand exceeds supply’ means.

    So the market sets the price such that those who are willing to pay that price get the good, and those who aren’t, don’t. This is thus the correct price: the price at which demand matches supply.

    It is not therefore ‘too expensive’, it is the correct price.

    Understand? I mean, it’s not rocket science.

    I mean, what’s the alternative? Demand exceeds supply, so clearly some children are going to not get places, right? How do you propose deciding who those are, if not by allowing the market to set the correct price? By lottery? Nepotism, like in East Germany? How?

  • What’s wrong with that?

    It assumes that all taxpayers are, have been, or will be, at some point in their lives, parents, which is clearly false.

    The policy as proposed is a forced, massive transfer of wealth from (lifelong) non-parents to (those who are currently) parents.

    Now it’s fair enough to transfer money from one group to another to mitigate some hardship that the receiving group suffers, that the giving group has been lucky enough to avoid: the disabled, the sick, those unlucky enough to be temporarily out of work.

    But it’s not fair enough to do that transfer simply based on lifestyle choice.

  • You could apply this approach to other areas of public expenditure.
    If people want to go out after dark why do they expect the state to subsidise their life choice.? Everyone could build their own street lights and only switch them on when they go out at night.
    Or you could apply it to sewage systems; everyone could dig their own sewer and deny others the chance to use it. After all if people make the life choice to eat they should expect to pay for the consequences later on with their own sewer. And if that ends up with society up to its knees in shit, well who gives a damn?
    No wonder this person posing as Tim does not want to give his real name.

  • Tim – it clearly is ‘too expensive’ for most people. I guess it depends if you take your definition of ‘too expensive’ from the public understanding of the term of a purely academic sense. Given that we are talking about public policy with an impact on people’s lives rather than a literature review of the Wealth of Nations I’d suggest the focus is on the former!

    The point is that at the lower end, which is where the concern is, demand does exceed supply- which is why people drop out of the labour market to do it themselves- to the wider detriment. The way to prevent against that is the Government helping to subsidise- exactly what is being proposed.

    Anyway, that’s enough of that debate. Bye 🙂

  • The point is that at the lower end, which is where the concern is, demand does exceed supply

    What is this ‘lower end’? Demand exceeds supply in the market as a whole: that is why the price has risen to the level it has. There is no ‘lower end’.

    The way to prevent against that is the Government helping to subsidise

    How will that help? Demand exceeds supply in the whole market. The government can’t magically make there be more qualified staff, can it?

    And in the absence of more qualified staff, how can the price drop? There are still X places and Y children and Y > X, so by simple mathematics some children must be left without a place, which means that places are valuable, which means that the price will rise until enough people are priced out of the market.

    That is simply how supply and demand works. It’s mathematics, not magic.

  • I mean if you’re having a hard time understanding it, think of a simple example: a borough in which there are 4 nurseries, each of which can accommodate 20 children, and there are 100 children.

    Now as there are 80 places and 100 children competing for them, 20 children must be left without a place.

    So the price will rise until the parents of 20 children cannot afford a place for their child.

    This is then the correct price for a nursery place in that borough, and nothing the government can do can stop that being the case.

    All the government could do is try to increase supply by making it more lucrative to run a nursery, by raising the pay for nursery workers. But this as mentioned would amount to a forced transfer of wealth from responsible taxpayers to support the lifestyle choices of parents, and is thus immoral.

  • Is having a child such an irritation to people nowadays that they want to park it somewhere daytimes and get back to work as fast as possible? And is this really what we want to encourage? Is work really the only place anyone wants to be? Is work the only thing that provides status, motivation, fulfilment? Ok, I’m old and maybe out of touch, but I remember when having a child was a huge pleasure, and having to forgo that pleasure and work instead was definitely not a preferred option for a parent, and definitely not viewed as the best option for the children.

  • It used to be that the husband would work and the wife would stay at home to look after the children.

    Now it requires two salaries to afford a mortgage. The problem is house prices relative to salaries. Just get on and build them!

  • I understand now. A house is more important than a child. Think I’ll emigrate.

  • @Joe King
    “Now it requires two salaries to afford a mortgage. The problem is house prices relative to salaries. Just get on and build them!”

    I think you’re putting the horse before the cart there. Part of the reason why house prices are so high is because there are many more two-income households paying for a mortgage than there used to be. But, yes, building some more houses would be helpful.

  • I think Jenny Willott is absolutely right this needs looking at. By allowing both parents to work (or in some cases the only parent to work) the cost should not be as great once the system is up and running and giving people this freedom would be a great liberal achievement. As someone looking to start a family with a partner who works – and both of us want to keep our careers going – this along with shared parental leave. – would make a huge difference.

    The people arguing that having children is some sort of “lifestyle choice” presumably think it fine to maintain a system in which those on benefits and the very rich have as many kids as they like while the rest of us don’t or we impoverish ourselves and (sadly most often) women lose out? That’s not progressive.

  • “Both of us want to keep our careers going” sounds like a lifestyle choice to me. People “losing out” by having children sounds likes a society where status and worth are judged on the work you do or the income you can achieve.

  • As someone looking to start a family with a partner who works – and both of us want to keep our careers going – this along with shared parental leave. – would make a huge difference.

    In other words, you want to eat your cake and have it, and you want my taxes to pay for your cake.

    It’s nice that at least you’re honest that you are simply looking out for your own financial interest, damn anyone who makes a different choice.

  • Old person/Tim – rather rude responses there given how little either of you know about me; you may not mean to but you both come across as rather bitter.

    My partner and I are both taxpayers (if we lived anywhere but London we might be able to afford childcare!) so we are not asking others to pay for something that we would not be contributing to as well. And a system that enables people to remain in work has got to be good for the economy as a whole.

    Old person – if women (or men) have to give up work when they would rather not, because of the cost of childcare, then yes they are losing out. In practice it is still overwhelmingly women forced to make this choice, which is unfair. Obviously if men or women simply decide they would much rather spend their time raising their kids, that’s all well and good. In practice I imagine (as a non-parent currently) that it’s much more fluid, with a mixture of part-time work, other forms of flexible working, family helping out and so on.

    I don’t value people based on their work or income – as a liberal I value people equally.

  • Mark. Sounds like you are rich enough not to need free childcare. You are only “losing out” if those are the values you hold. Other people will hold differ values, so yes, you are asking people with different values to you to subsidize your lifestyle choice. Are children really worth so little to you that a job is worth more?

  • ” and you want my taxes to pay for your cake. ”
    Well Tim, with the views you have expressed here you might be happier in a part of the world where you do not pay any taxes.
    Surely there is a remote corner of Paraguay where you can isolate yourself from other human beings and count all the money you have saved by not paying taxes? You would be safe there from the terrible thought that you might be paying for someone else to eat cake.

  • My partner and I are both taxpayers (if we lived anywhere but London we might be able to afford childcare!) so we are not asking others to pay for something that we would not be contributing to as well

    But you’re clearly asking for either your net contribution to the tax system to be reduced, or your net draw form the tax system to be increased. I mean, you must be: you’re asking for more money. It amounts to the same thing: others, who have made different life choices, will have to pay more in tax to cover your increased costs (or, services to those who actually need them will have to be cut). Is that not correct?

    Are you not asking for your life-choices to be indulged, at the cost of others, by receiving a subsidy which others, who have made different choices, will have to pay for, in the form either of increased taxes or reduced services?

    My response may have been rude but it was provoked by the incredibly selfish nature of what you are saying, which basically boils down to, ‘I want something but I can’t afford it, so other people should have to pay to make it possible for me to live the way I want.’

    a system that enables people to remain in work has got to be good for the economy as a whole

    The question is, does the good done to the economy as a whole outweigh the harm done to those whose incomes are reduced in order to indulge your lifestyle choices? I suggest that it does not.

  • Well Tim, with the views you have expressed here you might be happier in a part of the world where you do not pay any taxes

    I don’t think so. If I didn’t pay any taxes then I would not benefit from all the things which taxes pay for that benefit everyone in society: roads, hospitals, the army to defend us, the police to keep the law. all those things I would not have if I didn’t have taxes and I wouldn’t like that.

    Similarly if I didn’t pay any taxes then there would be nothing to help out those who need help through no fault of their own: the disabled, the sick, the old, and those unemployed through malchance. I don’t thin I would like to live somewhere where those people were not taken care of.

    No, I think I am glad I live somewhere where I pay taxes so that they can be spent on things that benefit everyone, and on helping those who need it.

  • Mark, you cannot have it both ways. If you hide behind the mask by calling yourself simply “Mark” you cannot complain that your critics know nothing about you. Tell them who you are and a bit about yourself: be accountable for the views you express. You might find that people take you more seriously.

  • In what way does the claimed name “JohnTilley” inform anyone about who John Tilley is or how he or she lives or votes or anything? Names do not seem relevant to this discussion about policy and what motivates it.

  • OK Tim, When you said— “…If I didn’t pay any taxes then I would not benefit from all the things which taxes pay for that benefit everyone in society: roads, hospitals, the army to defend us, the police to keep the law. ” did you consider all those public servants, doctors, nurses, soldiers, police officers? Where do they come from?

    Are they not there to help you thanks to all those people who have taken what you suggested earlier was an iirresponsible life choice of having children?

  • Are they not there to help you thanks to all those people who have taken what you suggested earlier was an iirresponsible life choice of having children

    I rather hope that in fact they are there due to the responsible people who have worked out that they can afford to have children without having their lifestyle subsidised (any more than it already is with the free state childcare that is provided from ages five to eighteen), and then started a family.

    Mark: often in life we have to choose between incompatible alternatives. You can’t have everything you want. Most people learn that at some point after they are toddlers, but some don’t.

    For instance, if you could afford childcare if you didn’t live in London, why not move somewhere cheaper to start your family? Lots of sensible, less selfish people do do that, you know. Or do you think you have some kind of right to live in London if you want to, such that you deserve subsidy from the state to enable you to live in your preferred location?

  • Andrew Colman 12th Mar '14 - 11:38am

    Don’t support taxpayers subsidizing child care. Its really subsidizing low wages

  • Good point, Andrew.

    Taxation is perhaps appropriate only where there are benefits that can flow to the community from having something organized by government rather than by individuals.. Taxation is an appropriate funding mechanism for the police because it helps to achieve a political aim of equal standards and treatment for all. It is appropriate for street lighting because its alternative would be greater inequality in night-time safety between rich and poor communities.

    What benefit would free childcare provide to a community, given that “free” probably means “freeing some people to get richer through high earnings by outsourcing their childcare duties to lower wage earners”? Isn’t that helping to increase social division? Isn’t it precisely what LibDems are against?

  • There is a benefit to the community if more people can work, pay taxes etc. Tim to his credit is prepared to acknowledge that and just questions the relative value.

    Old person/Tim – again you are making assumptions (what part of what I posted earlier makes it “sound like I am rich enough not to need free childcare”?). In fact, given the other costs of living in London, notably rent, council tax and transport, we wouldn’t both be able to keep working and pay for childcare. We live in a small flat, not central, not especially lavishly. And both our jobs are in London. If you are able to get the central government department I work in relocated to somewhere pleasant in the north, please do!

    In any case, I support this on principle, so I’d want it brought in even if I wasn’t going to benefit personally and would be contributing to the cost of it helping others. We all pay taxes for things we don’t necessarily use personally.

    JohnTilley – some of us work in occupations where we are not permitted to post under our full names (I am a civil servant) – that’s also why I leaflet but don’t door-knock. I could add a random surname but as Old Person notes, it wouldn’t mean much.

  • Are you really only qualified to work in one single specific central government department? You have no hope of ever getting another job, such that it’s not even worth you bothering to apply for jobs in other, cheaper parts of the country? Even jobs that might be less well-paid in absolute terms but which would allow you to afford childcare, given the lower other costs of living outside the capital?

    Wow. Perhaps, if your financial situation is so precarious, you’d be better off not starting a family. After all, what if your department’s budget were to be cut and they had to let you go? Seeing as you are (according to you) completely unemployable anywhere else, you would never be able to get another job and your family would lose your income permanently. Is that a fair risk to expose a child to?

    Though I suppose if you did lose your job you wouldn’t have to worry about childcare costs. Swings and roundabouts.

  • I don’t see that more people working and paying taxes is necessarily a net benefit to the community. Again, this is a value judgement, and it looks as if what the community is being asked to do is subsidize one set of values in preference to a different set of values. And it is the community who are being asked to pay the costs, some of which will be monetary.

  • Now you are simply being rude so I will ignore you

  • Just pointing out that from what you have said you could afford childcare, if you really wanted to.

    If other things are more important to you than childcare (like working at a particular job) then that is your choice, but it is simply not true for you to claim that you can’t afford childcare. You can afford childcare; you choose to prioritise other things instead, like your career.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • Andrew Ducker
    This kind of non-competition is useful - and I think you'd find a huge amount of appetite for it, but only if the winners then move to a proportional voting sys...
  • Joan Walmsley
    I would like to see those who DID get a FPN for something that happened at home standing up and protesting with chapter and verse....
  • expats
    Ode to Boris Johnson (apologies to the 'pig') In November 2020, when he was downin' plenty, An’ talking total rot with manly pride; His voice began to st...
  • Michael BG
    Steve Trevethan, Cut VAT should be added to your list. Jenny Barnes, If inflation is caused by the economy overheating because there is too much demand...
  • William Francis
    @Brad Burrow's I don't think Putin's Anschluss of Crimea should be seen as evidence of Crimean independence....