Stay-at-home parents attack childcare plan

THE GOVERNMENT’S childcare reforms were yesterday attacked for excluding stay-at-home parents.

The new £750m scheme will pay 20 per cent of the cost of care, up to £1,200 per child per year from 2015. But it will only be available if both parents are in work, meaning more than a million families where one parent stays at home will lose out.

David Cameron claimed the move was about supporting parents “who want to go out to work”, leading to attacks from within his party for failing to support parents’ right to choose how to structure their family.

A Treasury briefing note said families where both parents work “are in greater need of state support”.

“Parents working part time for minimum wage will not benefit from this scheme at all and will still not be able to afford to increase their hours, leaving them unable work their way out of poverty,” said Barnado’s Neera Sharma.

Save the Children’s William Higham said: “Parents tell us that they are desperate to take jobs, but the costs of childcare are crippling. Prioritising families on lower incomes to find work would be a win-win situation – for both the economy and our country’s children.”