Childcare Minister Liz Truss has announced that working parents are to be given up to £1,200 a year in childcare support. The new childcare support proposal is calculated by allowing families to recoup 20% of the average cost of a childcare place, what the Government believes to be £6,000 per year.
Initially, on its release, it will only cover children up to five years old, but they hope to widen the age group to include all children under 12, without actually saying when, but that it will “happen over time”.
Well this all sounds very good! But hold on just a minute, this won’t begin until 2015 and this has caused the Opposition and campaigners to highlight how disappointed parents would be not to get help sooner.
The government claim the new childcare support plan will eventually help 2.5 million working families, more than the current voucher scheme, but as I write it is still not clear whether it will.
So let’s look at the new requirements.
To be eligible both parents have to be working, or the one parent in the case of lone parents and their annual salary must be less than £150,000 each. If, in a two parent family, only one works, they will not be eligible.
So this seems an extension to the Government’s desire for making work pay, but is it fair?
Well campaigners have rounded on the government, arguing that the 1.2 million parents who choose to stay at home to look after their children, are having their needs ignored.
Marie Peacock, from Mothers At Home Matter said, ” Those mothers are working hard and they want to get on. Hard working families are not just families with two earners. David Cameron is alienating mothers across Britain. We have been inundated with with calls from stay at home mums, who are puzzled by what David cameron is saying.”
The decision follows the Government’s reversal of their pledge to offer tax breaks to married couples.
Tory MP Dominic Raab, said, “It is welcome that the government is supporting hard-working families, but it should not end up penalising their individual choice about how to strike the right balance between bread-winning and child-caring.”
This is a complex redistribution of child care funding and in today’s economy, prudent financial planning is a must, but is it fair?
I don’t know! What do you think?