Government plans to help parents struggling with rising child care costs are on the 'wrong track'
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Thursday 17 January 2013
Government plans to help parents struggling with rising child care costs are on the “wrong track” because they could help better off families most, a think tank warns today.
The Resolution Foundation said the Chancellor George Osborne’s proposal to provide tax relief for nurseries and childminders would subsidise well-off at the expense of those on lower and middle incomes.
Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, is arguing for more “free” state-funded hours of child care for lower earners as the Coalition parties thrash out a new package due to be announced in the next few weeks.
Gavin Kelly, the foundation’s chief executive, said: “It’s not a great surprise that the Coalition isn’t finding it easy to agree its new policy. It’s trying to resolve contradictory political pressures – from using some form of tax relief to compensate higher income families for their axed child benefit, to ensuring that it will be worthwhile for low income families relying on Universal Credit (phased in from this year) to take on more hours of work, to relieving the burden on middle income families who don’t qualify for tax credit support. Achieving all of these objectives with limited resources at the same time as simplifying the current system of childcare support, as the government says it wants to, is a very tall order. There is a real risk they go down the wrong track - prioritising a tax break that gives the most to the affluent.”
The think tank, which hosts a conference on child care today, found that the existing scheme under which employer vouchers provide tax relief gives almost half the benefit to households with an income of more than £70,000.
Anand Shukla, chief executive of the Daycare Trust, said: “It is key that any additional financial support helps those on low and modest incomes where the financial pressures are the greatest. Rather than a tax break which threatens to be complicated and onerous, we strongly advocate targeting any extra resources on extending the free entitlement provision which is hugely popular with parents.”
- 2 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 3 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
- 4 6-year-old writes ice cold Valentine's card to his stepmother
- 5 Syrian child photographed 'surrendering to camera because she thought it was a gun'
Rape threats, death threats and a police investigation after video poking fun at an Islamic Party in Malaysia goes viral
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
6-year-old writes ice cold Valentine's card to his stepmother
Jeremy Clarkson to become 'special adviser on transport' to David Cameron
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
Katie Hopkins reported to the police for race hatred by Labour MP Simon Danczuk after tweet about Pakistani men
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...