Childcare subsidies a handout to the middle class, says IEA expert

Commenting on proposed new childcare subsidies, IEA Editorial and Research Fellow Professor Len Shackleton said:

“The new funding for childcare may be a crowd-pleaser but is unlikely to get many more women back into work. 

“There are not swathes of women unable to work because of expensive childcare, and in fact, we already have higher numbers of mothers of young children in work than the EU or OECD average. Ultimately, these taxpayer handouts will primarily benefit middle class families where the mother already works.

“Extending the provision of ‘free hours’ but providing low payments to providers could result in a shortage of available places. A better approach would be targeted child allowances or providing vouchers, which parents can top up, while leaving providers to set prices in line with local conditions.”