hildcare costs are severely denting the budget of millions of parents, but I don’t find the latest government proposals helpful. In fact, I find the plans to offer parents of pre-school children loans of up to £10,000 to pay for childcare absolutely outrageous. These loans would be paid for at an interest rate of 3 per cent above inflation, taken straight from the parent’s taxable income. If the loan starts at £10,000 in 2012, what will it look like in 2, or even 10 years time when you take into account interest payments and inflation? These loans would put already-struggling parents into even more debt
Polling for the Social Market Foundation, which has put forward the proposals, shows 55 per cent of parents say childcare is too expensive (by the way ONLY 55%, that surprises me when a full-time place at nursery in a big city would set you back around £1000 a month PER CHILD…)
The solution is not to offer a loan but to subsidise childcare, or create nursery places at an earlier age. Yes it would cost a fair bit of money – especially at a time when the government is drastically implementing budget cuts.
But think about the millions of women who have to give up work to look after their children because they cannot afford childcare. Millions of clever, able, hard-working women who cannot contribute as much to the economy and have to stay at home because it’s makes no sense to work when all their salary is used up for childcare. High childcare costs are discriminatory to women.
I know many people think it is a ‘lifestyle choice’ to have children and therefore associated costs have to be paid by parents but if you follow that reasoning, if some of us stopped reproducing on behalf of others, the world would be, well, empty.
What do you think?