In the UK, families are rightly frustrated with a system which has failed to keep up with the realities of modern life. This is why Labour has proposed a number of policies aimed at helping working families to balance their responsibilities. For example, we have pledged to double paid paternity leave and extend free childcare to 25 hours per week.
A report by Gingerbread, the advice and support charity for single parents, has found that almost half of single parents (47%) have been forced to borrow money from family, friends or the bank in order to cover their child care costs within the last two years.
Yesterday, George Osborne claimed that his budget was for those “who aspire to work hard and get on”. Last year, I wrote for Shifting Grounds about the growing childcare crisis. Soaring childcare costs are placing unsustainable pressure on family finances, and as a result many women feel forced to give up work to look after their children.
The Tory-led government talks about us all being in it together and yet it feels very much like this is not the case.
Following Naomi Eisenstadt and Graham Allen in talking about the foundation years is more than a little daunting.
The good society is one where we constantly strive and work for improvement. We will never have that society unless we think ahead, plan and strategise about our future, characteristics lacking in the government machine. The dominant late intervention culture has failed.
All three political parties claimed support for Sure Start in their manifestos in the 2010 election. How has that commitment been kept by the Coalition Government? Ironically, the Coalition Government frequently claims that because no single party got a clear majority, promises made in manifestos are no longer commitments.
This week Shifting Grounds will be dedicating a number of articles to the issue of childcare.
The importance of this issue cannot be overstated. At a time of sluggish economic growth, deep and lasting cuts in welfare and a Government committed to a failed economic doctrine, the situation is getting worse as time goes on.