Archive for June, 2010

New mothers forced back to work over debt worries

June 26, 2010

Click here for this Guardian article.

Ann Robinson, consumer policy director at uSwitch, said: “Debt and financial considerations combine to be the biggest motivating factor behind new mothers returning to the workplace. Despite women being told that they can ‘have it all’ and can choose whether to be a working or stay-at-home mum, the fact is that most have this choice stripped away from them by the financial realities of modern life.

…or, more specifically, this choice is stripped away by the policies of successive governments that subsidise anyone to look after children except their own parents.

Front-loading child benefit

June 22, 2010

Frank Field, a Labour MP, the new coalition’s government’s poverty advisor, and a past FTM AGM speaker, has proposed increasing child benefit for early years and decreasing it for later years. This will certainly make it easier for families with younger children to survive on just one income and have the mother (of the father) at home most of the time.

But cutting child benefit for older children underestimates the ‘face-time’ that teenagers require. Better would be to finance an increase in child benefit – across the board – by scrapping non-parental childcare subsidies, such as nurseries.

My mum’s worth £1.5m

June 19, 2010

That’s how much a mother could be paid to bring up a child. Click here for full article.

Gove confirms free childcare entitlement

June 9, 2010

This shows that the new government is just as keen as previous ones to pay for children to be looked after by anyone other than their own parents.

One long-time FTM member says:

Perhaps we could look at a more imaginative system,  instead of free childcare entitlement for all three- and four-year olds.   For example, you could look at a voucher/credit system for parents . The vouchers could be redeemed either a) immediately to access free, quality childcare for those parents who want or need it in the pre-school years OR  b) deferred until the middle years under a kind of credit system so that parents who don’t feel comfortable with childcare so very early on in the child’s life can use the vouchers later,  in order to help fund holiday care/clubs or even to help pay for music lessons, swimming lessons, drama clubs, transport, ‘free’ school meals, etc. Not every young child is suited to early childcare from age two and not every parent believes this is the best that can be provided for their individual child’s needs.

If we support choice for parents it can only be a good thing – and it would also spread the benefit through from early years into the middle years when lots of children are more ‘school-ready’.

I am not sure about the rationale behind the present system of encouraging more childcare in the early years – I presume it’s a combination of encouraging mothers/fathers back to work and also to provide a ‘stimulating’ , structured environment for the child so that they are apparently better prepared for formal schooling later (are they?).   Trouble is there aren’t that many jobs for 12-15 hours per week term-time only.

Furthermore not all children want or benefit from a noisy group care environment  – indeed it can mean the children have started formal care two or three years before even starting  reception – and long before they’re potty trained which can be a stressful time for many toddlers.   There’s a lot to be said about having a more peaceful start to life!

There are plenty of opportunities for stimulating activities when mothers (or fathers) go to play-and-stay sessions  – or toddler singing groups – gym clubs etc – spending time together, getting to know the world together, bonding as a family.
Of course more family time is not always possible – but we should at least aspire to children having the very best possible start – and

I can’t help questioning whether our obsession with early group childcare is really progress in they way we raise our kids in the UK.