Burden of Childcare

Sir – The Daycare Trust (News, May 5) complains that childcare is too expensive and wants even more taxpayer support for it.

But taxpayer support for childcare does not make it less expensive; it simply redistributes the burden. Families who sacrifice a pay packet to bring their children up in the home have to pay more tax to support the childcare of others, as well as bearing the cost of their own loss of earnings.

This provides more choice for those families who pay for childcare, at the expense of less choice for others. Perhaps, close to the 25th anniversary of Margaret Thatcher’s election, people need reminding that “society” cannot pay for childcare – only families can.

Politicians should stand up for meaningful choice in childcare, which will only arise when taxes on low income families are reduced radically so that people can decide how to care for their children, unencumbered by interference from the state.

Perhaps the real motives of the Daycare Trust were revealed when it suggested that state childcare was preferable to private. The results from the state-run schools have been bad enough. The thought of children being deposited in state nurseries from a few months old is frightening.


Professor Philip Booth, Institute of Economic Affairs, London SW1