The childcare vouchers debate

Over half of working mums say that Government plans which may lead to childcare vouchers being scrapped would mean they have to cut childcare hours or cut back elsewhere, according to a Workingmums.co.uk poll.

The poll of over 250 women found that 35% said they would have to reduce the paid childcare they used and 24% said they would have to make cuts elsewhere. Some 34% said the plans would have little impact on them.
In late September, Gordon Brown announced plans to extend free places for young children of poorer families and said this would be funded this by reducing tax efficiencies on childcare vouchers for higher earning parents. This would mean the over 60 companies which currently provide vouchers would have to foot the full cost of them themselves.
The vouchers can save parents with children aged up to 15 over £1,000 a year on childcare. The childcare is paid out of an employee’s pre-tax and National Insurance income which results in a slight reduction of salary, but saves money on tax and National Insurance.
One working mum who took part in the poll said: “I am struggling anyway to meet the cost of childcare. If the vouchers are scrapped there will be no point in me working as childcare costs so much! Not a good idea as the country’s policy is to get mums back to work!!”
Another commented: “I am now looking at working from home because of the cost of childcare. This is another case of the government telling mums to go to work, but not giving them any support. I wanted to go to work to give me a chance to meet people and support my children, I took an extra job to increase my income and what happens? The childcare is so expensive that I have not gained anything. Is this helping mums to go back to the workplace? I think not!”
Another said: “I will have to stop working. I only do two days, but if they scrap vouchers then it won’t be worth me working!!!”
Yet another commented: “I will not be able to work as a single parent. My small salary just about pays the mortgage. The childcare allowance is a lifeline.”
Gillian Nissim, founder of Workingmums.co.uk, said: “While Workingmums.co.uk welcomes plans to increase free childcare for some children, it is concerned that this is being done at the expense of the majority of working parents, many of whom struggle to pay  childcare costs. Having childcare vouchers can make a significant  difference to a mother’s ability to work. At a time when many families are struggling and need support, we believe this move would make things more difficult.”




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