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Welcome to the Author Blog for Sheila Nutkins. Here you will find information and Sheila's own thoughts and opinions on topical issues relating to early childhood education and care.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Nick Clegg 'mauled' by stay at home Mum Laura Perrin



Nick Clegg has been accused of unfairly targeting "stay-at-home mums" by a caller to his weekly radio phone-in.
Laura, from south London, said the government was "discriminating" against traditional families with its new childcare scheme.
"You probably think what I do is a worthless job," the caller, who did not give her surname, told Mr Clegg.
Mr Clegg said the government's aim was to help parents who wanted to work but felt childcare costs were too hefty.
Only single parents and those families where both parents are in work will benefit from the new childcare voucher scheme announced by the government on Tuesday.
Parents will be able to claim back up to 20% of childcare costs every year - up to £1,200 for each child - when the scheme starts in autumn 2015.
The caller to Mr Clegg's LBC radio show, who has two children, claimed there was "absolutely no provision in the tax system for families like myself".
She told Mr Clegg child benefit had been "a fair way of recognising everybody's legitimate choice" either to go out to work or to "work inside the home".
"You've essentially abolished that for families like me and replaced it in some way with this which applies only to mums who go out to work," she added.
Mr Clegg replied: "Like everybody, I massively admire your choice.
"You should be entirely free and proud of the choices you make in your own life to look after your own children in the way that you want. I hope no politician would ever seek to judge you for that.
"This is all about what we can do in government to give people the greatest choice that they want and need in their own lives."
Mr Clegg also defended Wednesday's Budget, saying those who wanted to work and provide for their families were being helped most by the coalition.
He pointed out that petrol would be cheaper, basic rate taxpayers were benefiting from the £10,000 starting rate from next year and that employers would get a National Insurance break.
Mr Clegg claimed that the top 10% of earners were paying more as a result of the chancellor's decisions.

There are a number of links to this and it has given rise to much debate!  Have a look at:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9959640/Nick-Clegg-denies-Coalition-is-penalising-stay-at-home-mothers.html

The Mail reported after a follow up radio programme:
Presenter Nick Ferrari said Mrs Perrins, 32, had left him a message to say: ‘I would just ask him to look at the OECD report again and think about the impact that these policies are having on families up and down Britain.’
The Lib Dem leader, whose wife Miriam is a high-powered lawyer, floundered as he refused to discuss the figures and said it was not his job to judge parents’ decisions to stay at home.
He said: ‘I don’t want to get into all the number crunching on this. I don’t actually accept that a lot of the measures that we’ve taken are somehow penalising mums – or indeed dads – who take the totally admirable decision [to stay at home].
'I’m also a parent, I know these are incredibly important decisions about how you juggle work and family … these very kind of noble decisions that many, many parents have taken, to say no, for a few years or maybe permanently, they’re going to dedicate themselves to their children.’
The OECD study found the average UK family with one working parent and two children lost 27.9 per cent of their wages in tax in 2012, compared with 26.2 per cent in 2009, before the Coalition was elected.
The international average is 26.1 per cent.

This link below includes a number of comments:

What do you think?  How important is it for mothers (or fathers) to be at home in the early years?  Does legislation militate against parents not working?  Can we afford, in terms of the impact of poor early experiences on later outcomes, for more and more parents to work rather than care for their children?

A few weeks ago there was another related issue about increasing the ratio of children to carer in daycare settings which gave rise to a similar debate with many commenting that parents should have to pay the full cost of care for any children they 'choose' to have; pensioners were more in need; people looking after young children do not need high qualifications they just have to be 'kind', etc, etc.  Though there was also comments  supporting both the necessity for higher qualifications and cheaper childcare.

This debate is very much part of what we are exploring in the last section of the book.

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