What a good compliant minister Nicky Morgan is. On Woman’s Hour this morning, she slavishly toed the party line, on childcare and the family allowance.
After singing the praises of teachers, Jenni Murray turned to childcare, “a priority for all parties”. What does this tell us about the Conservatives that they agree with Labour and the Liberal Democrats on the issue?
Alarm bells should ring if all the Conservatives are arguing about with Red Ed and “Nick spend other people’s money Clegg” is how much of your cash they are going to throw at a particular problem. But there is no argument on childcare – it has been open season on single-income families from all three parties – particularly the Conservatives.
To her credit Jenni Murray actually asked the question – what are you going to do for families who care for their children themselves? It should have been phrased – when are you going to stop penalising families who care for their own children, sacrificing a salary to do so? But there we are.
Morgan mumbled a bit, no doubt grabbing her prepared script in her mind. In these tough times we have to have ‘priorities’, she said. Ah yes, the priority must be subsidising the childcare bill of families who pull in £300,000 a year while cutting the child benefit (previous a family allowance) of those on £50,000 (and are net contributors to the Exchequer). This is the Conservative idea of ‘fairness’.
This discriminatory childcare policy was introduced after cutting the child benefit of families on £50,000, while families who were on incomes up to £90,000 retain it. This is fairness – Conservative style. Sadly Morgan was not pushed on this discrepancy, but this is to be expected.
Conservative policy is to subsidise the childcare bills of the wealthiest. And we must make sure the wealthiest can pass on their bumper pension pots to the kids tax free (having already claimed tax relief on them).
It sort of makes sense for Cameron to promise weekend GP care. Middle-income families will need it for all the stress-induced anxiety they suffer from the huge tax bill they pay, especially if they are a single income family.