Wednesday, 23 April 2008

The Times: Stop pandering to stay-at-home mums

(Ed: I found this article really annoying, which is why I'm publishing it. I saw in a friend's house the other day the application booklet for Tax Credit - 58 pages of language that made filling in a Tax Return look simple.)

[...] You have children, you give something up. That's the deal. It might be income, it might be friends, it might be expensive holidays. And if you are really, really lucky you might be able to afford not to work for a few years. What you do not have is the right to expect to be paid by the taxpayer to stay at home. Especially when you do not really need the money.

For it's not a zero-sum game, a woman leaving the paid workforce. She - and now her children - still uses public services, doesn't she? The doctor and the subsidised trains, the schools, the roads, the health visitor, the library. And she has stopped paying for them. So you see, every non-working mother already gets a large subsidy from the State; less, perhaps, if she has a working husband, but still a subsidy. Have you seen how mothers of young children guzzle public services?

There is another argument why the State should not be encouraging women not to work: it is very bad for them. Mothers who haven't worked, not even part-time, for three years, or longer if they have had more than one child, will find it very difficult to go back into the workplace. They lose confidence and the routine of work. They have fallen behind their peers. They have forgotten how to do it. They may never go back. That isn't good for the mother and ultimately it isn't a good example for the children either.

I understand the reluctance of mothers with young children to farm them out to nurseries. Much of the problem with that, though, stems from the standard of care in the nurseries themselves, and the amount of time the babies have to spend in them. Encourage more flexible and part-time working, as the Government is doing, and pay childcare workers more to get a higher standard of care and slower turnover of staff. That would be a better investment of the £5.4 billion that the parental care allowance would cost. Read more
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Sam Norton said...

Yes, completely myopic. However I'm really posting to ask if you could change the RSS feed settings on this site, so that the text of the post (or the first 200 words or so) comes through to the feed readers (as you do on your Ugley Vicar site).

(Dashboard - Settings - Site Feed - Full (or short))


Sam Norton said...

It works! Thanks.