Here’s a question for the stay-at-home mums among you.
Would greater availability of more affordable childcare make you consider ditching the life of a stay-at-home-mum in order to head back to the workplace? Or are you among those who deliberately opted to step off the career ladder in order to focus on your family?
I ask because George Osborne, the government’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, has today announced plan to provide £2million of childcare grants in a bid to entice mums back to work and ‘make Britain the female employment capital of Europe’.
Which is no bad thing, in itself. A lack of affordable childcare is undoubtedly one reason why studies consistently reveal that many mothers who, given the choice, would like to be working, are not in employment. Add to that the spiralling cost of childcare - one study showed that childcare costs have risen by a whopping 77% over the past decade, amounting to costs of more than £100 per week for the average childcare place - and it’s no wonder that so many mothers feel ‘priced out’ of the workplace by the prohibitive cost of childcare. We all know mums who would be worse off financially even if they worked full-time, simply because the ruinous cost of childcare would cancel out their income.
But of course, not all stay-at-home mums are out of work because they can’t afford to go back. Plenty are simply choosing to focus on raising their children, and they might feel compelled to argue that the government is effectively discriminating against stay-at-home mums instead of supporting their choice to invest in the next generation.
What’s your view? Is the government wrong to prioritise getting mums back to work - with all the benefits that has for the economy - over incentivising them to raise their children?
Image credit: Flickr/https://www.flickr.com/gscsnj
TOPICS: Childcare and Support