Posts Tagged ‘maternity pay’

Childcare needs to be at heart of welfare state

25/03/2013, 03:01:11 PM

by Sarah Rabbitts

When the welfare state was established by the Labour party in 1945, it didn’t include childcare because the role of women was still defined in the home.  In fact, it wasn’t in Labour’s manifesto ahead of the 1997 election either. It must be at the heart of Labour’s commitments ahead of the 2015 election.

Since the 1960s, women’s role in the workplace has changed radically – but there is still pressure on mothers to stay at home because of escalating childcare prices and the gender pay gap. Helen Kersley, from the new economics foundation, confirms that women will still earn significantly less than men, with or without children, and this can deter women from returning to work.

It’s been universally acknowledged that last week’s budget won’t benefit a large number of low-income families. The government has announced 20% tax relief on childcare costs of £1,200 a year for each child from 2015. However, this scheme is flawed and will benefit the better off. The resolution foundation says that only four in ten low income families will receive 85% of the childcare bill from the Government. The foundation’s analysis also suggests that 564,000 low income families will see 85% of their childcare bills paid but more than 900,000 would receive only the current 70% – the rebate which applies when one or both parents earn too little to pay income tax because many women work part-time.

This is a hard message, following the recent announcement that a single nursery worker should be able to look after four babies, below the age of two. Understandably, Elizabeth Truss’s policy was met with concern from parents, childcare providers and industry experts.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon