IEA responds to government’s childcare package


Media Coverage

Victoria Hewson writes for The Telegraph

Tax and Fiscal Policy
Commenting on the government’s package to reduce the cost of childcare, the IEA’s Annabel Denham said:

“Government intervention in childcare is an expensive mishmash of ill-conceived policies. Subsidies cost the taxpayer at least £6bn per year, yet parents here pay on average three times more than those in France or Germany. It is therefore encouraging that ministers are exploring how deregulation – rather than yet more government spending that would fail to address the underlying problems – can drive down costs.

“The renewed emphasis on childminders, whose numbers plummeted as the sector became increasingly formalised, is welcome. Where in the mid-1990s, there were over 100,000 childminders, the latest data show this has fallen to below 40,000. The move would signal an understanding that many parents want – and need – part-time help with their under-4s rather than a full-time educational experience. Slimming down the Early Years Foundation Stage will open up childminding to more groups, making this lower-cost option more widely accessible.

“Rather than campaign to increase take up of tax-free childcare, government should scrap the scheme. Given the weak case for general subsidies to childcare, a benefit that likely disproportionately helps the middle-classes is difficult to justify.

“As with any attempt to slash red tape, these measures will be met with fierce opposition by vested interests – such as companies that have already had to adapt to these restrictive rules, or individuals who believe the state can do a better job of raising children than parents. Ministers should proceed regardless.”


Notes to editors

Contact: [email protected], 07763 365520

IEA spokespeople are available for interview and further comment.

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