Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/371/6081
From The Socialist newspaper, 20 November 2004
Childcare plans ignore real needs
SUCH IS the blurring of Tory and Labour policies that they're now trying to
outdo each other over who can provide the best childcare for working parents.
As usual, when you scratch the surface of these proposals, they are not as
tempting as they first appear.
Blair calls for before- and after-school clubs for all primary school
children but admits this will involve the private sector. To avoid low-quality
care, the teachers' union NUT is calling for a trained teacher in each child
centre and well-paid childcare workers to run them. Unfortunately, this is
likely to be considered too expensive.
While Blair talks of clubs at a cost of £2 to £3 an hour, the glaring gap
in his proposals is childcare provision for 0-3 year olds. In this area the
cost of day-care nurseries is often prohibitive and places scarce. This is
precisely the time that parents pay out the most for childcare.
The Tories propose changing the system of childcare tax credits for lower
income families and replacing them with a flat-rate payment that would
inevitably fall well short of the real cost of childcare. They also believe
that even the rich should get help from the state through tax relief to pay
for their nannies and au-pairs.
A crucial issue which neither party addresses is that of working hours.
Many parents would like to spend more time with their children, which they
could only do with a shorter working week and no reduction of pay.
'Family-friendly policies' feature high on both parties' agenda in the
run-up to the general election. But they are more concerned about the battle
to win votes than the real needs of children and struggling working parents.
Blair has the nerve to shift some money towards childcare while running
down our public services with cuts and privatisation. The very parents he
claims to help may not even need childcare if - like many civil servants -
they are threatened with job cuts!
- Public funding and provision of a network of good quality, flexible
childcare that is free and accessible to all parents who want it.
- A living wage and high level training for all childcare workers.
- A shorter working week with no loss of pay for all workers.
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In The Socialist 20 November 2004:
The bloody cost of war
Ireland: Socialist Party MP attacks Irish Government
Colin Powell - a dodgy dove
Socialist Party campaigns
Come to ISR conference
Pensions: "Unity in action" call
Childcare plans ignore real needs
NUS extraordinary conference
International socialist news and analysis
Palestinians mourn Arafat but struggle for liberation will continue
Imperialism in new occupation
Socialist Party workplace news
UNISON elections - nominate Roger Bannister
Protecting jobs in outsourcing deal
Join the Jaguar demo
Agenda for Change ballot masks discontent
The Socialist 20 November 2004 |
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