BUDGET '99: Anger at Failure of Help in Meeting the Burden of Child-Care Costs for Working Mothers

Article excerpt

As a working mother of two young children, Helen Jane Arnold will benefit from some of the measures announced in the Budget.

She will see child benefit kept tax-free and rise to pounds 15 a week next April for her five-year-old and pounds 10 a week for her three-year-old.

Although her married couple's allowance goes by the board, she and her husband will receive the new children's tax credit worth pounds 416 a year.

But Ms Arnold, a family lawyer from Oldbury, says the scrapping of mortgage tax relief will cancel out the extra hand-outs.

She is also angry Gordon Brown failed to bring in any measures to ease the burden of child care costs on mothers who go out to work.

Ms Arnold, who is regional press officer of the Solicitors Family Law Association, says although the Budget has benefited mothers who stay at home it has done nothing to help mothers on state benefit get back to work.

"I feel very positive about things like the increased child benefit and the fact it's not been taxed," she says.

"It's really good the Government is supporting families and, in particular, children and that it is not drawing a distinction between couples who are married and those who aren't.

"Children's tax credit is a welcome change because it's targeting money where it's needed. Anybody who is working hard to keep a family together faces a lot of costs associated with that.

"But this Budget has patently failed to address some important fundamental issues. …