Government retreats from plan to help families with childcare
The Treasury is attempting to water down plans to give tax breaks and "free" state-funded hours of childcare to millions of working families.
The proposals were due to be announced as part of the Government's mid-term review and help off-set criticism of the decision to withdraw child benefit from taxpayers earning over £60,000 a year. At the same time Elizabeth Truss, the minister responsible for childcare, was due to announce new rules to allow nurseries to look after up to eight children for each member of staff. Currently the limit is four.
It was hoped that together the moves would substantially bring down the cost of childcare which currently sees parents spending more than a quarter of their income on looking after their children while they are at work. But the Treasury is understood to be concerned at the cost of the proposals – which could be worth around £2,000 a child – could lead to thousands of stay-at-home mums going back into the workplace.
This, officials fear, could create a funding black-hole at a time when budgets across all Government departments are under intense pressure.
At the same time the Liberal Democrats are worried that the plans to relax child/staff ratios could damage the standard of care provided. Nick Clegg has made it clear that he will refuse to sign off on any policy "which jeopardises standards."
So far the Coalition's ruling 'quad' of David Cameron, George Osborne, Mr Clegg and Danny Alexander have met twice in an attempt to iron out the differences between the Treasury and the Department of Education.
But sources said little progress had been made. Government sources last night expressed frustration at the delay.
"This was supposed to be announced at the same time as the child benefit cap was introduced and show that we doing something for hard-working families," said one.
"But now it looks like we may not be able to work through all the issues before the budget."
Life & Style blogs
Snapchat removed the Best Friends list feature and 'stalkers' are upset
Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Eight-year-old girl Camilla Lisant suggests possible cure for cancer to her scientist father
Lack of medically trained staff leaves NHS 111 phone service struggling to cope, insider claims
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...