A new report from Family Investments on childcare affordability has suggested that on average the cost of 25 hours of childcare a week will be 18.9% of one parent’s average earnings.
I think the assumption that 25 hrs/wk is going to cut it is insane – what about families whose parents both work full time?
Back when mine were little enough to need nursery care – and it was full time – I was paying 75% of my salary in childcare. Taken out of joint wages, it was still more than 50% of the budget.
These days if I had both my children in nursery in the same place they were before, it would eat up 98% of my current salary, 65% of household budget. And that is including vouchers and so called ‘free’ hours.
My husband and I managed it, but it was tight. If we were contemplating having children now, we would decide not to – we couldn’t afford it.
Even now, with both of mine school age, I am paying £105 per week for out of school care, 39 weeks a year, plus another £1000 or so per year on care for the school holidays. Childcare costs in the UK are insane.
Because of the ever-increasing costs of childcare my two kids don’t get holidays anymore. My partner and I both work in the NHS and simply can’t afford it. We had a week in Cornwall last year and we are still paying for it. I feel guilty, and really sorry for my children who are 8 and 13. It’s not their fault. They have never been on a plane, and never been out of the country.
The sheer cost of trying to buy childcare (because our annual leave allowance doesn’t stretch) is becoming increasingly non affordable.
I can only imagine it must be very much worse for others without two partners working.
2/3 of my salary goes on paying nursery care four days a week for our little girl. My partner’s mum luckily has her for one day a week. I’m left with £400 a month to pay for council tax (£100) food for a family of three and transport to work, as well as new clothes for me and the baby whenever we need them. It barely covers it and my partner’s income pays our rent and all other expenses. I’d love to have another baby but we just can’t afford it with the way things are at the moment.
I’m fascinated that “Family Investments” seem to believe that one can achieve average earnings while only paying for 25 hours a week of childcare. Even if you’ve got a 9-5 job, next door to your nursery/childminder with no travel time to take into account (extremely unlikely), you’d need 35 hours of childcare a week. If (like us) you have to commute 1hr+ each way, it’s 50 hours a week.
While I’m grateful for childcare vouchers, they’re a bloody nightmare to administer (my wife’s HR does not assist with it in any way other than pointing you to their provider’s website – which is a sea of gobbledegook). When I started the new tax year, I should have switched to a lower rate of voucher purchases, but my HR missed this and have had to take me off for two months to make sure that I don’t “overbuy” vouchers this year and have to repay. Meaning that when I came to try to do the household budget last weekend, it was very difficult to work out what our net monthly income was actually going to be.
The government-regulated service that allows people to block cold calls is being ignored by some telemarketing firms, according to an investigation by the BBC.
I registered with the TPS years ago, and still get automated calls day and night, with nobody on the other end. Because the number is anonymous I can’t do anything apart from change my number, apparently. O2 won’t ban incoming calls from any number, nor anonymous numbers, and were no help at all, despite me pointing out that if I change my number I might as well change my provider, as I’m not in a contract with them. Still no help. So after twelve years with them, I’m moving next week, the only thing I can do to stop my phone ringing at all hours of the day and night. Why can’t all anonymous numbers be barred from calling?
How about doing something to stop all that irritating text spam too?
I changed network and immediately was bombarded with upwards of 50 unsolicited texts a day. According to the messages I had changed gender, was now called Karen, and was either due a substantial PPI payment simply by calling a Premium Rate number, or was in desperate need of a pay-day loan. Either that or I needed to open a betting account. Or most comically, craved eye-surgery! [Who in their right mind would trust their eyesight to these sort of slime-balls?]
To be fair the messages did helpfully suggest a means whereby I might stop future texts. All I had to do was reply ‘STOP’. Unfortunately all this does is tell them that the line is live encouraging them to redouble their annoying efforts. And since the callers knew nothing about me I assume there are children receiving the same attention. How do these people sleep at night?
Doesn’t this sort of behaviour constitute harassment? Isn’t there already a law against that?
Try this approach to cold callers – it frightens the life out of them.
Although I am TPS registered I still get calls, some from the UK but mostly from India.
Before they start their patter I interrupt them to ask if they are aware of my terms and conditions with regard to receiving unsolicitied calls. Because the t & c’s don’t exist they can’t say yes.
By now I have taken the initiative, so when they say no, I ask if they wish to register, and explain that I charge for each call because I pay for the line rental and it is for my benefit not theirs. So it is only fair they should pay to mitigate the cost because they are using my paid for phone line.
I kept one guy from India on the phone for about ten minutes, tying him in knots because he couldn’t understand why he should pay. He finished up putting the phone down on me.
When you waste their time they don’t like it all. I had to sit down I was laughing so much.
Barclays chairman leaves
Are people closing their Barclays accounts? Our readers shared their reactions to the Libor scandal and news of chairman Martin Agius’ resignation.
Large numbers of people are closing their Barclays accounts in disgust. A friend closed his last week & the Indian call centre person said that they had been inundated with people closing their accounts. Personally, I refuse to bank with any bank that uses Indian (or indeed any other) offshore location.
Pay taxes, British jobs for British people, abolish the monarchy (mottos for today & for always)
Apart from the (understandable) anger of the lynch mob, there’s another issue here which needs to be considered. We have allowed our manufacturing industry to be hollowed out on the assumption that banking and financial services would become the long-term driver of a “post-industrial” economy.
But all banking rests ultimately on trust.
If these people, whoever or whatever they may be, have destroyed this trust, they may have dealt the death blow to an already faltering economy.
What happens if there is a complete collapse of confidence in UK banking?
I am sorry but resignations are simply not good enough and they should not distract us from the fact that our laws and our trusts have been broken. We need a thorough investigation into who did what, when and why
It’s a little strange that MP’s and people ‘off the street’ take it upon themselves to demand the resignation of the senior officers of a company that has been found guilty of misdeeds. It is perfectly reasonable to expect shareholders in the company to petition for the resignation of executives and perhaps equally quite legitimate for the regulating authorities to demand similar if within their powers, but if no criminal charges have been laid, what basis is there for subjecting ANY individual to public trial by an ill-informed kangaroo court?
I have no sympathy for Bob Diamond and Co, but I don’t like what is happening for a number of reasons, not least of which is the inadequate degree of regulation banks are subjected to and the ‘witchhunt’ that disguises that fact. Whatever the banks are guilty of, the fact that they were able to perform as they did substantially lies with the regulators.
This resignation is just window dressing as anybody with half a functioning brain cell realises. The Chair of most major companies are mere figureheads–they are not involved in the nuts and bolts of the business. The Board needs to be replaced en masse as they have collective responsibility for the business and the layer below the main board, subsidiary boards, executive committees need to be booted into touch – this is where the real decisions are made. Boards exist within a bubble where they are only told by their minions what they want to hear – it doesn’t absolve them of responsibility but it does explain the constant refrain of ‘I didn’t know what was going on’
The test for migrants applying for a British passport is to be overhauled later this year to include more questions on British history. Readers told us what they’d include on a test and whether they think the system works.
I was born here. I’m not a Christian and while I understand the notion of constitutional monarchy, the royalty are an undifferentiated mass of military uniforms and ladies’ hats to me. I know the tune but in more than 50 years I’ve never quite managed to learn the words of the national anthem. Am I going to be deported?
Has it been pointed out yet that a lot of these topics lie out with the curriculum taught in Scotland and, I’d hazard to guess, the non-English parts of the UK?
I didn’t do Trafalgar or Byron – I did Bannockburn and Morgan. It’s typical politicisation; not a test for patriotism (I wonder if they’ll also test on Wilde), but a test for a particular narrow Tory defined brand of patriotism
My partner had to take this test twice, passing both times as I accidently lost the paper validation (they refuse to reprint). The test was fairly difficult and a lot of it seemed quite arbitrary. He’s American and nearly a PhD so it wasn’t any sort of language confusion, although he said he felt very bad for the Asian people taking the test with him who only seemed to have basic English Language skills.
I think something in the middle of the present test and what the Tories are suggesting might be good, a historical perspective and a present orientation. Although I don’t trust the Tories at all to create something fair, balanced and useful. It also seems that we might want to have different tests for those under devolved governments as there are a lot of different histories and the differences on the current test are what is the most confusing.
Do you really not think it’s of some importance to know some of ‘your’ country’s history and culture before becoming a citizen? It helps build a stronger connection with the rest of the population and helps create a greater sense of understanding for the country that is now your nation. If British born nationals cannot answer these questions, surely that only reflects on a poor educational system rather than define what important knowledge is?
Admittedly, ‘God save the Queen’ might be going a bit far
As an immigrant who took the test a few years ago, I can’t say I disagree with some kind of test – mostly in order to ensure that the immigrant can understand basic English if they want to live in the country – but Teresa May’s got it wrong here.
If they want to be absolutely positive that ALL those applying for citizenship know UK history better than those who already have citizenship, they should scrap the multiple choice questions and have 3 essay questions of no fewer than 3,000 words – to be marked by Ms May and top Home Office officials in order to be 100% sure that the applicant has a better understanding of UK history than the majority of Brits.
This would also please Michael Gove (who thinks that education is only about test scores), so it’s a winner all around!!
Bvveelen has this to say:
I have lived in this country for nearly five years now. My partner is British, most of my friends are British, and most of my colleagues are British. As my partner is incredibly disorganised, I am the one who deals with utility companies, the council, the DVLA, etc.. I vote in the Scottish, local and European elections and I put all my recycling in the appropriate bins. I quite enjoy the occasional pint of ale, and a greasy chippy after I have had one too many. Although I don’t think I’ll ever find Miranda funny, I quite enjoy the British humour of the Office or The Inbetweeners. I have learned to cook curries as well as haggis, neeps and tatties. I know why plastic poppies start appearing on everyone’s coats around October and why there are fireworks and bonfires on the 5th of November. But yes, my lack of knowledge about Gustav Holst’s career really means I haven’t integrated very well
My wife of six years, the mother of our British Citizen three year-old daughter and step-mother to my British fifteen year-old son, failed her first Citizenship test two years ago by one question. One of the questions she didn’t know the answer to was ‘How many members are there of the Welsh Assembly. Her failure might have been down to us being overworked parents running a business in which she was a full partner, employing British people and paying British tax.
This might seem humorous to some of my band-wagon-jumping compatriots but let me explain the consequence. Because she couldn’t secure another test appointment before her visa expired, she could not apply for her Indefinite Leave to Remain Visa. When I called the Home Office to ask if she could apply for her visa a week later, when she would have hopefully passed her Citizenship Test, I was told that she must spend over £600 on another temporary visa instead or face deportation. When I challenged the Officer and said that my wife could not be deported because she was breast-feeding my daughter who was a British Citizen who could not be deported with her mother, I was told ‘Whether or not your wife takes your daughter back with her would be up to her.’
Makes you proud to be British doesn’t it?
Likert gives their version of the test:
The only tests should be:
Can you speak English properly?
Can you support yourself?
Are you healthy?
Do you pledge allegiance to your adopted country?
Gove and school dinners
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has condemned the education secretary’s plan to investigate the state of school dinners as unnecessary and a waste of time. He called for more action to help improve pupils’ health and fewer reports.
While Gove was “fully open” to their suggestions he was “prepared to look at them” rather than necessarily implement them all, she added.
Have to agree with Jamie Oliver. It doesn’t take much to know how to change things for the better..
Vegetable growing is a good idea. Even more so in inner citires. Then decent nutritionally balance non – fried food. I would allow chips as a side but thats it.
Classes from 14 -16 have cooking lessons in the school kitchen, and learn to cook a dish. Then they could take it in turns providing a ‘special’ each week.
I do think its another ‘ spend some money taking 6 months to look as if we are doing something, another 6 to think about it, implement a few cheap possibilities, and ‘oh’ its election time..
Still. We could always be surprised…. (pleasantly..?)
Jamie Oliver is 100% right on this. Providing good food at schools will make a real difference in helping kids from poor backgrounds achieve academically. It could also be combined to help local producers to supply quality food as well so also good for the farming economy. Gove should act sooner rather than later.
The school I work at has two breaks during the day. First break is 10.55 for 20 minutes. Lunch is at 1.15 for 45 minutes. It’s far too long for most kids to go through to lunch without eating, so a lot of them eat during break.
At break, the school serves fried potatoes (not chips, but close), paninis with toppings of cheese + other, pizza slices, lamb samosas, lamb burgers, chicken burgers, and veggie burgers. There is a small cold food container in which kids can buy miniscule pots of grapes, yoghurt and other food deemed healthy, such as tuna sandwiches. There is no salad option and the sandwiches generally do not contain any salad, and are mostly white bread or baguettes.
At lunch, school serves main meals which include vegetables, and there is a salad bar. It also sells all the same things it served at break, if there is anything left over.
Oh and not forgetting that the two options at “breakfast club” are bacon sandwiches and bacon and egg sandwiches.
We’re an academy, and I pray to Higgs that for our kids’ sake the rules are brought back to cover every school.
The issue isn’t school dinners, it is poverty.
Middle class kids do fine when eating it is those coming from very poor or dysfunctional families that suffer.
Gove is not interested in this issue as he knows he can’t solve it. He doesn’t have the money or more especially the political will to tackle this. This talk of school dinners is deflection from the real issue.
There are a minority of parents though who could do with taking better care of their children
ManchesterDinnerlady shares some personal insight:
I’m a catering manager at a secondary school, and I can say for sure that the students at our academy are fed an interesting and healthy menu that meets the nutritional standards. I’m not sure whether our academy in unique in this, but our senior leadership have been very supportive in increasing the funding for the school dinners within the school, to give our students the best quality we can. We also grow some of our own vegetables. The biggest problem we face is getting students to try new things, they are used to a diet of fried food and take aways, and generally respond quite negatively to dishes with vegetables and healthy stuff. There is only so much you can expect us to do. We prepare healthy, tasty food everyday but the kids don’t want it, they want burgers.
In response to the questions about the picture, airplane style trays and plastic cutlery is common in primaries, possibly because it’s considered safer, and it’s lightweight, which reduces health and safety risks for staff associated with carrying large piles of heavy plates around. That portion size seems about average for a primary school, the portions are ridiculous there
In some English schools, teachers can opt for paid lunch-time duties, to monitor behaviour etc.
In one school I worked in, I would patrol at lunch-time.
All over the paths and some in the bins, were the nutritionally-balanced sandwiches carefully prepared that morning by the pupils’ parents, while the child had a fizzy drink and scone from the canteen.
I used to take the cling film off them so at least the seagulls would eat well.
The moral; do not give children a choice. If you do they will eat sugar and fat.
Thanks for all your comments this week.
Source Article from http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2012/jul/06/your-views-on-the-news
Your views on the news: childcare, school dinners and British citizenship
childcare – Yahoo! News Search Results
childcare – Yahoo! News Search Results