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Am I missing something?

23rd Mar 2013
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With my mummy blinkers on, the budget regarding childcare cost sounds good at the first instance. If you work you get some monetary benefit for childcare costs, even if you're self employed which is a bonus for me as that is what I plan to do. It doesn't matter how many children you have, plus your claim to child benefit is not affected by this new voucher as far as I can tell.

However, the main downside to this is if you work part time, you or your partner don't get anything. Working part time was/is my back up plan. Also, the stay at home mums don't get anything which is a shame especially if the one parent does work. If you get tax credits, you don't benefit either.

Then I started thinking would anything in the budget make me change my plans? If I decide to work part time, I will still do it regardless of how much I get for childcare and same with being self employed. Either way we would make sure we have enough money to cover all our costs. At the moment we're both self employed, so we don't get any childcare vouchers and my husband's income will soon pass the earning threshold for child benefit.

I guess time will tell whether we do actually benefit from this or not and what if you have more than one job? What if you have two part time job or if you are self employed and do part time work?

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Replies (13)

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By FirstTab
24th Mar 2013 07:42

Why?
Thanks once again Lilac1 your blog post made me think about an area that is normally well outside my horizon.

My point is why should the State fund child care costs?

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By A mum and an accountant
24th Mar 2013 10:45

Hi first tab, I do get where you are coming from in a way. When I was working full time, I used to think why do only parents get offered flexitime or benefits. If they can't afford kids, then why have them?

Then I think, I have lived in this country all my life and I have paid my taxes for the last 10 years or so while I worked, so why shouldn't I claim some of what I can?

But I digress, you asked why should the state pay. I guess its a political move. By offering this incentive, its encouraging more people to work regardless of how many children you have.

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By Old Greying Accountant
25th Mar 2013 00:06

I have lived ...

... here all my life, paid tax for 30+ years but still naively believe benefits should be there only for those who genuinely need it and I have no thoughts of "entitlement".

To me it is insurance, not an endowment plan, I do not expect anything back financially from my "investment", but would hope if, God forbid, it all went pear shaped I would get some sort of help picking up the pieces - but only after I had cut my cloth as much as I could for my impoverished circumstances.

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By A mum and an accountant
25th Mar 2013 07:39

Thank you OGA
I get caught up in my own selfish needs. We pay taxes for the greater good of our country not for our own personal benefit. But when you hear of scams and problems in the benefit system, I guess I stop thinking straight.

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By ShirleyM
25th Mar 2013 09:10

For whatever reason...

... the government (all of them) have a policy of helping children, and this means helping their parents, or carers. Likewise, the government think that if you don't have kids, you can quite happily live on next to nothing.

In my opinion, this is one of the least evil policies. They probably give more away to the extremely wealthy, who have a myriad of tax dodges, and they are the ones who REALLY don't need a hand out from the taxpayer and many don't even make a contribution in the first place, or as we see time & time again with the aggressive avoidance schemes, they just make the same contribution as someone on minimum wage. Legislation didn't intend that to happen (did it????), whereas helping with childcare costs is exactly what the legislation is intended for.

I am sure Lilac1 and her hubby do make a valid contribution, even if some of it is returned to them!

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By Old Greying Accountant
25th Mar 2013 09:35

I struggle with this ...

... it is right that help is given to protect children, but that leaves it open for people to have childern to get financial reward and thus starts a spiral of benefit dependancy! I don't believe this is a majority trait, but the minority is significant, and if you throw benefit payments for immigrant children into the mix, whose parents have no history of paying in to the pot things get exacerbated.

My personal belief is that childcare is best given by the childs family, its mother in particular, and would rather help was given to enable them to be there for their own children, rather than to have the children "parked" out the way elsewhere.

I read an interesting article recently putting the view that although children in third party care have every need adequately (and often more than adequately) met it is done dispassionately and without the loving care a parent would give and that is vital in the early years.

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By ShirleyM
25th Mar 2013 09:44

Swings & roundabouts

Maybe childcare isn't the same as a stay-at-home mother, or father, but there are also occasions where the child becomes so dependent on familiar faces that it cannot cope without them, eg. some become spoiled brats, and others with so little confidence with strangers that they cannot cope alone. The lesson that Mum or Dad cannot be available 24 hrs per day is often a good one.

I agree that many families abuse the system, but that happens even with the wealthy (see post above).

I really dislike the tax credits system. It creates an expectation (and justifies the claim) of receiving benefits, whereas the old system of giving a larger tax allowance gives people a feeling of self-sufficiency, and doesn't accustom people into expecting additional benefits.

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By Old Greying Accountant
25th Mar 2013 13:29

I do agree Shirley ...

... additional alowances for dependants (not necessarily minors) is good, especially if clawback a la age allowance when incomes exceed "sensible" thresholds.

I think the spoiled brats are more down to the absence of "No" from the parents vocabulary than familiarity of faces. I think worse behavioural problems come from those with rarely seen parents (who over compensate when they do get time with the children). It can also lead to relationship issues in adult life. Most of the spoilt brats I have come accross have had nannies/nursury(esp montessori) etc from a very early age.

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By A mum and an accountant
25th Mar 2013 14:05

I'm hoping
A little bit of both will be good in the long term. A little bit of nursery (2.5 days) and a little bit of motherly love and discipline will somehow work out ok. I've read so many articles about how nursery is good and about being a stay at home mum is good that its hard to feel that whatever you do is right anymore.

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By Flash Gordon
25th Mar 2013 19:23

Nursery hours

A slight change of tack but what are peoples' views on sending little kids (2-3yrs) to nursery for full days (and I'm talking 8am to 6pm here)? I know someone who's little 'un has just started doing those sort of hours and to me it's just wrong! I'm all for kids getting some socialisation but even teenagers at secondary school aren't at school for those hours! Am I so far removed from reality these days or do others agree that little ones should be spending quality time with a parent as well, rather than being treated as an accessory to be played with when parents can be bothered?

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By A mum and an accountant
25th Mar 2013 20:41

In my view
They are long hours to do every day. I know there are some days when I think it would be an easier life if they were in nursery all day while i went to work and I suppose some parents have to. Then again they are playing all day, not studying or working. I definitely agree though that parents should spend quality time with their kids and take some responsibility for having them.

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By Old Greying Accountant
25th Mar 2013 21:43

Personally ...

... playgroups are good, if the mums are there too. As the mother and child get to know others then you can help each other out. This is why two parents are important, so they can share what at times can be a burden.

I think most of my generation and earlier ones weren't looked after by other than family or close friends until we started school, which was at five. Most of us could read, write, spell, add up and knew most of our tables by that age too!

I appreciate that often both parents have to work, but often it is choice not necessity, the net gain after childcare costs being minimal!

One of my friends works days, his wife evening to make ends meet so they could afford to have two children. Not easy, lots of sacrifices, but they wanted to make sure one or other were around. Another couple I know the husband is a postie and his wife a mobile hairdresser so again one or other is always around. Funnily enough, both have well adjusted, confident but well mannered children!

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By Sarah Offord
26th Mar 2013 21:51

Pointless offering by Mr Osbourne

The whole point of government funding for childcare is to help parents with young children get back to work. A mum sat at home is not paying any tax and in general the household is going to be spending less (so not so much vat income for hmrc). A mum out working, even part-time, is going to be paying tax, national insurance, putting more petrol in the car (fuel duties) and generally buying more (vat) not to mention all the alcohol duty on the gin and wine!

For many households the sheer cost of childcare is a barrier to most mums going out to work and so they need the meagre offerings the government can offer. The policies outlined in the budget are a nonsense and will only benefit the people who don't need it. It will not help the family who are considering if it is worthwhile going back to work as they will not be able to afford to wait a whole year + to see any help with the childcare costs. Many of these families are living hand to mouth as it is. Why forgo spending precious time with your young family if you can be just as well not working and claiming benefits.

It's a pointless gesture as far as I'm concerned.

I should point out I have been self-employed since my eldest daughter was born. I took a total of 4 months maternity leave when baby number 1 was born and 2 weeks when baby number 2 was born. I have never qualified for state benefits or tax credits and the only state funded help we have had (apart from child benefit) is the funded nursery places for 3 and 4 year olds.

I'll get off my soap box now.

SD

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