Stay-at-home mothers are being penalised
SIR – Mother’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the indispensable role mothers play in the home. But, as the recent Budget made clear, policy-makers only value mothers when they are doing paid work outside the home. Families with a mother or father at home full-time are penalised heavily in the tax system, often paying at least half as much tax again as dual- earner families.
Supporting paid work over unpaid care for children will not encourage mothers back to work. In a 2013 Department of Education survey, 71 per cent of parents at home said they were there by choice; only 13 per cent cited cost of childcare.
But choice has been removed from poorer families who can’t afford to survive on one income. The only viable option is for both parents to work. It is not choice if the only option is to do paid work. We call for real choice to be introduced through a fair taxation system which doesn’t penalise single and low-income families but rather recognises family responsibilities.
Mothers at Home Matter
Thank you to Claire, a volunteer on our team, for getting this letter published in Sunday Telegraph. We’ve already had some wonderful letters of support from the public as a direct result.
For example thank you to the mother who wrote saying this:
I read Claire Paye’s letter in the Sunday Telegraph today which prompted me to contact you and say I’m so glad you’re doing this work.
I was fortunate to be able to stay at home for my daughters and, though I loved it and wouldn’t have wanted anything else, it was phenomally hard work emotionally and psychologically as well as physically, and I just can’t see how nurseries child-minders etc can input so much.
I worry that many women are being forced to go out to do paid work when they don’t really want to. I feel that a lot of this pressure comes from women who are able to achieve high-paid, ‘feel good’ careers and in the name of feminism and freedom are condemning their less well-educated, less fortunate sisters to undertake jobs which are anything but well-paid and rewarding.
I also feel, having grown up with an alcoholic mother who was emotionally distant, that the lack of companionship from a parent who is present and involved in a child’s life is a wound that never really heals.
I fear that too many children are now growing up feeling that they never come first with anyone, and that this may result in higher rates of criminality and mental health issues.