So that is that then. George Osborne has full-time mothers and their families in his sights and intends to tighten the screws. Not satisfied with removing their child benefit, not satisfied with pouring a billion pounds into an already over subsidised childcare industry, the Treasury intends further to subsidise childcare to “support women who want to work.”
Well, we all know where we stand then. The Chancellor does not believe that the care of children and home counts as work, and he intends to use even more taxpayer’s money to force mothers back to paid employment.
I don’t know what his problem is – he needs to spend some time down my way and he will realise we are not all putting our feet up. I don’t know why he likes separating mothers from their very young, pre-school children so much but it is something of a mission for him right now. Perhaps someone could send a therapist down to Whitehall to find out what it is all about.
Only a socialist like Osborne would herald failure as success. Female employment, including maternal employment, is on the up he tells us. Yes, that is true George, but you might want to ask yourself if that is a good thing as survey after survey tells us mothers want to spend more time with their young children if they could afford to, not less. This was in the latest Department of Education survey, as well as an older Netmums survey and even one commission by Labour some time back.
Only yesterday I received this email from a mother that said: “I would love to stay at home with my children rather than go to work but I can’t because of the mortgage! From talking to the other mothers I think most women would welcome that choice. I really wish they would build more houses/homes were cheaper. It takes two salaries to afford a family home and that is very damaging to conservative womanhood in this country.”
So George just because mums are in work does not mean they are happy about it. They have to because of your relentless targeting of them in the tax system as well as repeated failures by governments to build new homes. In addition, even though the economy is growing wages are not. I believe the last point is a huge push factor for mothers. If husband cannot increase income, and cost of living rises, then mum has to get paid work whether she wants to or not. This is especially the case if taxpayer’s money covers the childcare or part thereof. Sort of like bribing us with our money but with only one choice – leave the kids and go into paid employment, or else.
Which brings us to George’s socialism. Nick Morgan, feminist friend, tells us: “No woman should have to choose between their career and their family. All three- and four-year-olds now receive 15 hours of free childcare a week, extended to around forty per cent of two-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds, and we’re also introducing tax-free childcare worth £2,000 per child.”
Ah, yes the great 15 hours childcare previously known as early years education. The day before this announcement, it was confirmed by the IFS and the genius behind this scheme that first it had no long-term educational benefits for children. As Surrey University’s Dr Jo Blanden tells us: “The outcome of today’s report is not one I relish delivering. I had high hopes we would find that this policy did in fact positively impact those who needed it most. But the results we found were not so convenient.” I’ll say.
In the years 2002 to 2007, the £7bn plus spent on providing 12.5 (now 15) hours of free nursery a week for three year olds had no long-lasting benefits on educational outcomes. None. Nothing. All for £7 billion (billion!) which in reality was frequently used as another subsidy for the middle-class childcare bill at private nurseries. They were not using nurseries in schools that have the qualified teachers.
Worse than this, it was found that only 12,000 mothers went back to work at a cost, wait for it, of £66,000 to the taxpayer for every mother who took a job.
Do we see what is happening yet – paying women to go to work using taxpayers’ money is straight from the socialist handbook? And now there is to be more, ever more pounds poured into this crazy idea so the Conservatives look hip, and modern and feminist. All to the detriment of the kids. How dare George Osborne accuse Labour of launching some great red socialist disaster upon us when he is just as bad.
Finally a word for my ‘socially liberal, economically conservative’ friends out there. Even if you do not care about the toddlers locked up in nurseries all day long, I assume you care about your cash – taxpayers’ money. Do you think it is a good use of £66,000 of taxpayers’ money per employed woman?
Do you think a Conservative government should support a £7 billion childcare subsidy over 5 years? Do you think a further £1 billion per year in childcare subsidy is justified? Does paying people to work in low paid jobs at a net loss to the Exchequer irk you, somewhat? Cause concern? Illicit some questions? Because we are waiting – we are waiting to hear from you.