This week The Times reported on ideas being explored by the Treasury to help parents with childcare costs, to include £10,000 loans and deregulation of the childcare market. Our Chair, Anna Lines, wrote this letter below, and although it was unpublished, we felt it might inspire others to write in response to other half-baked government plans.
Nothing illustrates more clearly that the slogan “high quality affordable childcare” is a contradiction in terms than the Social Market Foundation’s proposal to set up a childcare loan scheme. Third party care is clearly not affordable unless heavily funded by the taxpayer and it cannot be of high quality if no. 10’s policy team is looking at relaxing the staff ratio in nurseries.
The mothers “lost” to the economy are their children’s and society’s gain, their now invisible work too can be argued to add to the country’s GDP and, given high unemployment figures, vacancies are soon filled.
Some financial slack for young families has to be built into the system and for far too long this has been overlooked by lending institutions and policy makers.