CHILDCARE FOR ALL OR JUST FOR THE LUCKY FEW?
George Osborne’s staggering inability to see the ordinary person’s point of view shows dramatically this week in his overruling of the Liberal Democrats’ childcare plans. Osborne is blocking Nick Clegg’s plan to extend current state aid for childcare, which would ensure that millions of mothers of all incomes could go out to work (surely a Tory aim?). Even the Conservative Education Minister, Elizabeth Truss agrees with Nick.
Instead, he wants to offer tax breaks for up to 30% on child-minding fees. On the face of it, this would achieve the same results and will not show up as another hand-out on the treasury balance sheet. What it really means is only the wealthier will benefit. The vast majority of parents on lower incomes who pay little tax already will continue to be trapped in low-paid part time jobs because they cannot afford to pay for childcare.
Once again, it shows the divide between Tory dogma and Liberal Democrats desire to help everyone out of poverty. Hold them back on some of their worst excesses we may, but there are times when I despair of the short-sightedness that drives Conservative policies.