Childcare swaps ‘outside rules’

Inspectors should not interfere in private arrangements between friends looking after each other’s children, says Children’s Secretary Ed Balls. Click here for more.

It was astonishing that anyone ever thought otherwise. Mr Balls says that where there is no payment involved there need be no regulation. But that admits the law is poorly drafted – it can’t be changed by a politician making a ruling on the spur of the moment. We aren’t in a banana republic, Mr Balls.

Hang on a minute: even if payment were involved, why is regulation necessary? How about if you paid a long-standing family friend, whom you trusted, whose style of parenting was in line with your own and the arrangement was mutually beneficial? How on earth is that any of the government’s business?

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