Childcare costs vs goodbye career = no win situation

Maths has never been my strong point. But I just can’t seem
to get my head around how much money I pay to people to look after my
children. I don’t begrudge the money earned by those who somehow
manage to control dozens of feral children every day, they deserve
more. But no matter how many times I punch the numbers into my
calculator I just can’t seem to believe what comes out. After
hearing  how our cool Scandinavian neighbours across the
North Sea do it, I am looking into how I can move to Sweden, the
country of beautiful blondes, Abba, saunas, Volvos, IKEA and now the
ambassadors of affordable childcare.
In the North East the annual cost for a full time nursery place
is around £9,000 after tax discounts. In Sweden parents pay a mere
£1,300. Once you have two children under three, or god-forbid twins,
you are into silly money. Your wallet gets a break after your child
turns three when they get 15 hours free a week, but read the small
print and this is not as much as you think. It is actually 12 hours over 52 weeks and can only be taken at my nursery in a maximum of 6 hours a day.
I know toddlers are difficult, but it is hard to save for your child’s
university education when you are already forking out the same cost as
university fees for them to play all day, although you could say that
is what they will end up doing at university anyway.
A few months back David Cameron has promised to sort the whole mess out. First tax breaks for nannies has been suggested, which doesn’t really sound
very helpful to the vast majority who would love but cannot afford
their own Mary Poppins. Now it is suggested parents are paid to stay at home. Nice idea if that’s what you want, but If I quit my job and stay at home, I am going to be deskilled by the time I return to the workplace and, as I am already seeing, colleagues who were my juniors are advancing ahead of me.  There are not many jobs in the North East to start with and I am really scared if I quit I won’t get as good a job again. I don’t know how childcare costs in this country don’t qualify as discrimination against parents, and it is the lowest paid who are hit the hardest as it is a bigger proportion of their wages.  I work three days a week on the equivalent full time salary of 24,000, but after I have paid childcare – even with the  free entitlement deducted, once I add travel costs I take home about 20 pounds a day, so I am working for less than 3 pounds an hour. It makes sense for people who want to and are able to work to be allowed to do so – meanwhile at the same time, people who want to work looking after children are able to run their businesses. Surely everyone can see Scandanavia has got it right, so why is nothing still being done?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Fiona Martin
    Oct 04, 2012 @ 22:45:40

    I agree, with 2 at nursery until September this year 90% of my wage went to the nursery!! With one child now at school it is less but still excessively high. My husband is in a safe but middle of the road paid job and we don’t qualify for tax credits but all our money is gone on mortgage and bills etc. People question why I bother working but part of it is for my sanity (I only work 2 & half days) and also to keep myself in the workplace.


  2. muminamuddle
    Oct 11, 2012 @ 10:26:13

    Thanks for the reply Fiona, that sounds exactly like us. Do you think it is worth keeping going? I’ve had to have time off recently as they have both had a sickness bug and then hospital appointments and work are getting fed up with me I think and now I have been told I have to work Christmas Eve, New year’s Eve and New Year’s day and all to earn a few hundred pounds! But I guess it will buy a some xmas presents!! 😉


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