The Government Needs to Keep Childcare Vouchers Open
Last week I signed the Childcare Voucher Providers Association’s Letter to the Government calling on them to keep the voucher scheme open.
The scheme to replace Childcare Vouchers, Tax-Free Childcare, disproportionately benefits the better off and makes no economic sense. It will leave an average income family hundreds of pounds worse off than under the current system of vouchers. The Government had promised that everyone who is currently using the Childcare Vouchers system would be able to continue using the scheme as long as they remained with their current employer. This promise appears to have already been broken as East Riding of Yorkshire, a Conservative-led council, has closed its voucher scheme to all existing members.
This is a really serious concern given that the cost of childcare has risen much faster than incomes in recent years, amid a climate in which more working people are falling below the poverty line and real wages have fallen dramatically since 2010. The Government must reverse its decision to shut down the Childcare Vouchers scheme and keep them open alongside the newer Tax-Free Childcare scheme. The Government have highlighted the fact that the number of mothers in work is now at high levels, but this will be endangered by the scrapping of the vouchers scheme.
I have also signed Early-Day Motion 755 calling for the Government to keep Childcare Vouchers alongside Tax-Free Childcare so as to allow parents to choose the scheme they believe works for them, and for vouchers to be extended to the self-employed who are unfairly missing out. The motion was signed by over 120 MPs suggesting it is one of the most popular motions in this parliament. The Government must take heed of the serious concerns being put forward by Members of Parliament from at least six parties.