Some of these may be unable to find second employment, but most are in this position because they believe their children may be better served by a parental presence in the home than third-party childcare. Joint earners may complain bitterly through your columns about having to pay for childcare out of taxed income, but they forget that independent taxation gives their families two personal allowances and therefore an untaxed income of more than pounds 8,000. Single-earner families start paying tax on their one and only income when it only just exceeds pounds 4,000.
Family policy should be aimed at allowing all earners with dependants to keep more of their hard-earned money than those without. What it must not do is to redistribute funds in favour of certain ways of family life at the expense of a substantial group of families whose conception of childcare happens to differ.