Letter: Childcare tax breaks

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THE Government makes much of its commitment to a national childcare strategy, but I fail to see how any system implemented can be fair and workable until it is focused on every working mother in this country, rather than just on those who are most needy or at the lowest end of the pay scale.

Labour's efforts to improve childcare provision as part of its New Deal programme are commendable. But the majority of mothers with children are not claiming benefit. Many millions of us have paid into the tax and benefits system for years, only to find that as soon as we decide to start a family, the doors of state support are closed to us.

How can a system which willingly taxes women when they are childless and commitment-free, but which refuses to give them anything in return when they are most in need of support, be a just one?

If this government is to retain the crucial support of female voters, it must look at ways of recognising the vast economic contribution made by working mothers, and examine workable incentives to those who wish to return to work after childbirth and continue contributing to the Treasury through the tax system. The Independent's suggestion of an pounds 1,800 tax credit is an excellent start.


London N22