'Universal Childcare Will Help Full Employment' as the UK Government Reveals Plans to Give 1.9 Million Working Families the Chance to Benefit from a Childcare Subsidy Worth Up to PS2,000 a Child, Senedd Correspondent Graham Henry Speaks to the Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research, Nick Pearce, about Why the Costs of Childcare Should Be Cut for All Incomes to Aid Public Services Reform

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), March 19, 2014 | Go to article overview

'Universal Childcare Will Help Full Employment' as the UK Government Reveals Plans to Give 1.9 Million Working Families the Chance to Benefit from a Childcare Subsidy Worth Up to PS2,000 a Child, Senedd Correspondent Graham Henry Speaks to the Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research, Nick Pearce, about Why the Costs of Childcare Should Be Cut for All Incomes to Aid Public Services Reform


CHILDCARE has become a major electoral battleground.

The UK Government's pledge yesterday will see 1.9 million working familes, they claim, accessing an increased subsidy for childcare worth up to PS2,000 per child, per year. The online scheme, affecting children up to the age of 12, will come in from September next year.

It comes after the Scottish Government's proposal to move to a universal childcare subsidy programme, which would see children entitled to 30 hours of childcare each week - the same number of hours as a child at primary school - benefiting about 240,000 children and, First Minister Alex Salmond claims, bringing 100,000 women into the workforce at a cost of PS700m.

It is amid this backdrop that the director of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), Nick Pearce, is advancing a case for universal childcare subsidies for the rest of the UK - in a bid to stem the rising pressure on public services in the UK.

Mr Pearce, who delivered a speech at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff for the University of South Wales' Centre for Advanced Studies in Public Policy on the subject of public services reform, said long-term rise in spending is not being matched with tax receipts - and the ageing society would lead to far greater pressure on spending.

He said: "We need to think of the route of fiscal sustainability as one that must start with full employment. In particular, we need to look at those countries where you have higher employment rates than we do. In particular, the Scandinavian countries and other northern European countries who have very good childcare systems.

"I make the argument for universal childcare. My argument would be if you want to improve the female employment rate, if you want to get more families able to balance work and family life and if you invest in highquality childcare, it would be good for children and their educational performance. This is the route towards higher employment and with it higher tax revenues, and therefore more fiscal sustainability."

He said the focus of elections has moved from public services, such as schools and hospitals, on to childcare because of the severe increase in costs.

"More women are working and therefore there's a greater demand for childcare," he said. …

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'Universal Childcare Will Help Full Employment' as the UK Government Reveals Plans to Give 1.9 Million Working Families the Chance to Benefit from a Childcare Subsidy Worth Up to PS2,000 a Child, Senedd Correspondent Graham Henry Speaks to the Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research, Nick Pearce, about Why the Costs of Childcare Should Be Cut for All Incomes to Aid Public Services Reform
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