When one parent cares for children at home the family is penalised in taxation. Mr Cameron – Why?

Posted in: MAHM Blog

8th December

Dear Mr Cameron,

In a speech last week by Sam Gyimah, Education and Childcare Minister, to the Family and Childcare Trust regarding the expansion in taxpayer-funded support for 30 hours of non family childcare, he said:

We are setting an income cap set at £100,000, whereby parents earning more than that won’t be able to access the additional entitlement, although we’re not talking about a combined income here, but rather if one parent’s salary exceeds £100,000. This cap puts the extended entitlement in line with the tax system and means support is targeted at those who need it most. We also recognise that families have different circumstances which need to be taken into account.” 

As MAHM understands it, this means that even in times of austerity more taxpayer money will be directed at higher earning families on potential joint earnings of an incredible £200k.
*****We are not convinced by Mr Gyimah’s statement that these are the families ‘who need it most’! *****

It means that better-off high-earning dual-income couples using childcare are entitled to i) two personal tax allowances which reduces the tax bill – plus ii) access more support for paid childcare – plus iii) many parents using childcare will also keep child benefit (for example if both parents are on £45k each making a combined household income of £90k).

Mr Cameron, this generosity is in stark contrast to the poor treatment of one-earner families with a parent at home looking after children. Working families struggling to manage on one income are entitled to just one personal non-taxable allowance. They get no support for home based loving family ‘care’ despite the second salary being forfeited.

In addition, some one income households are likely to lose (or have already lost) their child benefit too – even though a mother who is busy caregiving, studying or trying to return to part time work (for example care work) might be earning very little indeed – maybe under £10k a year part time or a lot less. But still some mothers (and some fathers) will lose child benefit (and the likelihood is that some of their higher earning managers will keep theirs despite far higher joint earnings !).

Policymakers constantly imply that stay at home parents are being treated fairly. In fact they are penalised in many different ways. And yet the Government claims that there is nothing wrong with the way one earner families are taxed or the way family care is ignored and devalued.

Mr Cameron, we’d like to know why one-earner couples pay more tax pound for pound than dual earning households?  The care provided within families is worth £343 billion according to the ONS,  so to ignore the work they do makes little sense as it’s very expensive to replace.

Also – why do many families lose child benefit whilst others on joint incomes of up to £200k (4 x £50k threshold for starting to lose child benefit) get more help with childcare ? Other hardworking families on lower incomes are losing support, especially when a mother is providing care for her children – and this makes little sense if we really want to give children a loving, secure, stable start in life.

MAHM Parents

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