|Where are all the children?|
Nursery fees rise as free childcare scheme backfires
So this is how life in Britain will get worse, or has never improved.
In France, the State subsidises about 80% of the cost of childcare. They *just pay for it* and have done for years. The amazingly simple rationale is that it's good for kids, and good for parents.
No shit Sherlock.
In Australia, government offers parents a healthy subsidy towards the cost of childcare – it depends on income, but it's generous.
In Britain, the Government makes a promise to 'give' 30 hours a week of free childcare – but doesn't back it with nearly enough funding. This means that childcare providers are at risk of going bust, and have to start charging parents for the so-called free care, which excludes the poorest. The State is simply creating the conditions for a vicious circle. You can't tell both parents in a two-parent family, or single parents, to 'go back to work' after they have children, if you don't offer good enough childcare. Who looks after the children? It's bad enough that it's not seen as 'work' to raise children (the hardest work there is).
I started writing about these so-called intractable paradoxes (which aren't paradoxes at all, they are simple discrimination and state underfunding, in 2010), horrified and completely exhausted by the scrappy, sub-standard childcare provision in the UK, having enjoyed two years of well-subsidised, excellent nursery care in Australia, from 2004 to 6.
At that stage, there was still a childcare voucher scheme in operation in the UK, essentially salary sacrifice, poorly publicised, but a total lifesaver – IF the organisation you worked for understood it and agreed to implement it. That, it turns out, was the high point of the British state's childcare offer.
The childcare voucher scheme quietly closed its doors on 4 October 2018.
The idea that things have only got worse for families since 2010 fills me with despair. We are going under, because the British state has abandoned its responsibilities towards its people. The crisis in childcare is just one of the canaries in the mine.
We are all on our own.