As Justine Roberts says, there is a crisis in the accessibility and availability of good quality childcare in the UK (I asked Boris Johnson about the childcare crisis. His response? “More Tumble Tots,” June 14). But his suggestion that a government-backed childcare loan system would solve the financial dilemmas they face would be laughable if it weren’t so bad, especially after the lessons that should have been learned about the system. student loans.
Child care loans will not solve this problem for parents, many of whom struggle to provide their children with adequate food, clothing, shoes and heating while at home.
But this misses the point, which is that all children are entitled to at least the basics of a decent life as they grow up. We all know and understand the research that shows that children’s physical, emotional, social and educational needs must be met for them to have a good chance of positive and healthy outcomes later in life. It’s not rocket science, we know it’s true.
Quality childcare that is free and accessible to all should be the ultimate goal. In the meantime, childcare services, properly subsidized by the tax system, should be introduced. The costs could be supplemented by payments from parents who work full time and have sufficient income. If it can work in other countries like Finland, why can’t we make it work here? It is not a luxury or a choice, it is an urgent necessity for our children, our society and all our futures.
Laura Bates is quite right to point out the extraordinary difficulty that many women face when childcare costs rise, and their pay does not rise (Childcare costs force British women to stop working. It doesn’t have to be, June 15).
However, it’s not just women who choose to stay home with their preschoolers. My husband was happy to sacrifice his economic security to be a stay-at-home dad. And back when flexible working was in its infancy, it carved out a second career, albeit one that paid less than my job. During this time, I found it a heavy responsibility to be the primary breadwinner in the family and there were times when I felt like I was missing out. There are gains and losses on both sides that are not purely economic.
There is undoubtedly a long-term financial hit when it comes to occupational pensions, which needs to be discussed between parents early on to ensure mutual longer-term financial security. Maybe employers should contribute something too, because parents with a partner at home won’t need to disrupt their employer’s business when it comes to sick children.
Ryde, Isle of Wight