Childcare campaign: Readers' view: 'Men must do part of work'

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The Independent Online
Responses to our campaign to improve childcare continue to pour in, with readers urging the Government to act soon to help working mothers.

Alison Walters says: "I believe that, in line with European objectives, and the Labour Government's objective of Welfare to Work, it is necessary for help to be given to those most in need, working mothers.

"Given that women earn less than men in many jobs, it seems most inequitable that the workforce should lose out on the unique talents of many women who cannot afford the poverty trap of low wages and high childcare costs."

Says Nikki Chapple, a manager: "I really enjoy working and being a parent and feel a woman should be able to have the choice of working or staying at home if being financially supported. I would rather work and be poor than be on the dole and vegetate."

Jayne Wright says: "I am a police officer with 14 years' service and have a two-year-old son. I have continued to work full time since the birth of my son. I am now expecting our second child.

"This now faces me with a dilemma; if I continue working I will lose two-thirds of my income in childcare. The alternative is for me to stay at home and leave a career which I enjoy greatly and have considerable experience in."

"It has always seemed ridiculous that I can claim a tax allowance for clothing expenses but something so vital as appropriate childcare does not warrant an allowance.

Liz Saward says: "Working women are never going to have the luxury of a wife at home. But it's about time that the government recognised the enormous burden, both financial and emotional, that women who work have to carry."

Clare McGlynn, from Newcastle Law School, gives her support but adds: "It should be a campaign for better childcare for parents and for tax breaks for parents.

"One of the problems with a lack of childcare, and the fact that women have difficulties combining work and family, is that childcare is seen as the woman's responsibility. Until men take their share of the burden ... women will continue to have difficulties."

Gillian Ward, a personnel manager from Surrey, adds: "The March 1998 budget would be a good opportunity for the Government to at least recognise the financial issues [of childcare].

"My employer has made the effort to accommodate my specific needs as a working mother ... I make the effort to work, be independent and be a role model to my daughter but in no way does the Government recognise this effort. Two factors would help this; tax concessions and more accessible childcare."

n Add your support to our campaign. Write to Glenda Cooper, The Independent, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 1DL or fax us on 0171 293 2143 or e-mail gcooper@independent.co.uk.

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