I am feeling well and truly underwhelmed by last week’s budget. What has actually changed for us normal folk? Yes, they are putting more money into a Home Equity scheme but one must still provide a 5% deposit – in London that still means a minimum of £10k (and the rest). And what is the big deal about this apparent overhaul of the childcare vouchers? It is going to do absolutely nought for women on a middle salary working in London. I would be able to claim up to £1200 towards childcare over the entire year, but based on the £85 a day nursery costs in London, working 5 days a week and minus the 4 weeks holiday a year, I would need to find another £19k to cover the rest of the year. On my salary I would already be in negative equity before then having to pay for travel to work. This would then mean that unless I get a massive pay rise or the government do something about the ridiculous childcare costs, that women are going to continue to drop out of the work place.
Other countries across Europe, the government has either put a cap on the amount a childcare provider can demand or the childcare is subsidised. In Spain, working mums pay around €250 a month for a nursery placement. Owners of nurseries in the UK are raking in the money. They pay their staff minimum wage whilst charging their clients full whack thus providing a nice high margin for their already full pockets. I am becoming increasingly frustrated with the governments reluctance to stick their ore in. As with the energy companies, the government need to get involved and put a cap on what customers and mums should be expected to pay. How is it right for a nursery to charge more than the UK average wage in childcare?