Milburn: Cameron plans to help better off with childcare at expense of the poor

Darlington and Stockton Times: Alan Milburn Alan Milburn

ALAN Milburn has accused David Cameron of planning to help the better off with the soaring cost of childcare – while the poor miss out.

The former Darlington MP – the Government’s adviser on child poverty – said new flagship proposals would “put taxpayers' money in the wrong place”.

And he added: “Subsidising the childcare of families with earnings of up to £300,000 is the wrong priority when low-income families in work have had Government support for their childcare cut.”

The comments are the strongest criticism made by Mr Milburn since – to the anger of many Labour figures – he took on the role as Mr Cameron’s adviser.

They follow the Coalition’s pledge to bring in 20 per cent tax relief on childcare from 2015, worth up to £1,200 per child per year.

Ministers insist their plans will help parents in the so-called “squeezed middle”, hit by increases in the cost of nurseries and childminders.

They will help all parents in work who earn less than £150,000 per year and do not already receive tax credits or the current employer-supported childcare scheme.

But the Coalition cut the proportion of childcare costs funded by tax credits for low-income families from 80 to 70 per cent - costing a two-earner couple up to £1,560 a year.

Furthermore, under the troubled ‘Universal Credit’, parents will receive less help with childcare costs if they earn just below the personal tax allowance.

Now Mr Milburn’s Commission on Social Mobility and Child Poverty is demanding a rethink to show the Government is serious about tackling in-work poverty.

The former Cabinet minister wants a lower £120,000 cap on the income of dual-earner families who qualify, with the money saved switched to low-income families in work.

He told The Independent: "The Government's proposals put taxpayers' money in the wrong place.

“The Commission believes a fairer, simpler deal is needed. By making childcare more affordable, work incentives would be strengthened.”

Without action, 80 per cent of the £750m to be spent on “tax-free childcare” from next year would go to better-off families.

A Daycare Trust study last year found that North-East parents were paying up to 7.5 per cent more than a year earlier for places at nurseries and at childminders.

The weekly cost of 25 hours’ nursery care for under-twos was £95.96 in the North-East and £95.54 in Yorkshire, the organisation found.

And the North-East had the highest after-school club charges anywhere in Britain in 2012 - £55.50 for 15 hours - after a staggering 26.1 per cent leap on 2011.

But, backing his childcare scheme last year, the prime minister called it “a boost direct to the pockets of hardworking families”.

Comments (13)

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6:24pm Mon 6 Jan 14

Voice-of-reality says...

Surely 'the truly poor' do not have childcosts - given that they do not work and are at home.... and, therefore, have no excuse not to look after their own chidlren who are already paid for by taxpayers. Or must the taxpayer do everything for the workshy?
Surely 'the truly poor' do not have childcosts - given that they do not work and are at home.... and, therefore, have no excuse not to look after their own chidlren who are already paid for by taxpayers. Or must the taxpayer do everything for the workshy? Voice-of-reality

6:43pm Mon 6 Jan 14

Jonn says...

Voice-of-reality wrote:
Surely 'the truly poor' do not have childcosts - given that they do not work and are at home.... and, therefore, have no excuse not to look after their own chidlren who are already paid for by taxpayers. Or must the taxpayer do everything for the workshy?
Read the article again. 'In WORK' poverty. 'Low income WORKING families'.
[quote][p][bold]Voice-of-reality[/bold] wrote: Surely 'the truly poor' do not have childcosts - given that they do not work and are at home.... and, therefore, have no excuse not to look after their own chidlren who are already paid for by taxpayers. Or must the taxpayer do everything for the workshy?[/p][/quote]Read the article again. 'In WORK' poverty. 'Low income WORKING families'. Jonn

7:18pm Mon 6 Jan 14

Voice-of-reality says...

Jonn,
I was expanding the debate - beyond the article - as you often do. Accordingly, I would remove child benefit from those who do not work - and give more to those who do work as those who are willing to 'help themselves' should be rewarded whilst those who choose not to support themselves should receive nothing.
Jonn, I was expanding the debate - beyond the article - as you often do. Accordingly, I would remove child benefit from those who do not work - and give more to those who do work as those who are willing to 'help themselves' should be rewarded whilst those who choose not to support themselves should receive nothing. Voice-of-reality

7:38pm Mon 6 Jan 14

Jonn says...

Voice-of-reality wrote:
Jonn,
I was expanding the debate - beyond the article - as you often do. Accordingly, I would remove child benefit from those who do not work - and give more to those who do work as those who are willing to 'help themselves' should be rewarded whilst those who choose not to support themselves should receive nothing.
Really? It reads like you were benefit bashing just for the heck of it.
I'm relieved you put me straight though.
I see you agree with Mr Milburn then.
[quote][p][bold]Voice-of-reality[/bold] wrote: Jonn, I was expanding the debate - beyond the article - as you often do. Accordingly, I would remove child benefit from those who do not work - and give more to those who do work as those who are willing to 'help themselves' should be rewarded whilst those who choose not to support themselves should receive nothing.[/p][/quote]Really? It reads like you were benefit bashing just for the heck of it. I'm relieved you put me straight though. I see you agree with Mr Milburn then. Jonn

9:57pm Mon 6 Jan 14

smokin says...

if they stopped giving away money to other countries there would be enough money to keep everyone out of poverty in england
if they stopped giving away money to other countries there would be enough money to keep everyone out of poverty in england smokin

10:44pm Mon 6 Jan 14

darloboss says...

What a bunch of toss pots this co- alition is Iam alright jack £u(k you
What a bunch of toss pots this co- alition is Iam alright jack £u(k you darloboss

4:41am Tue 7 Jan 14

BMD says...

The only people in the North-East earning £150,000 p.a. are Council Chief Executives or Labour Councillors.
The only people in the North-East earning £150,000 p.a. are Council Chief Executives or Labour Councillors. BMD

9:22am Tue 7 Jan 14

miketually says...

smokin wrote:
if they stopped giving away money to other countries there would be enough money to keep everyone out of poverty in england
If you think this, you don't really know how much we give to other countries compared to overall welfare spending.
[quote][p][bold]smokin[/bold] wrote: if they stopped giving away money to other countries there would be enough money to keep everyone out of poverty in england[/p][/quote]If you think this, you don't really know how much we give to other countries compared to overall welfare spending. miketually

10:23am Tue 7 Jan 14

David Lacey says...

As there is NO real poverty in this country, the argument is entirely specious. And helping people who earn the average wage (or above) means they are generating tax income on this income.
.
Remember the definition of poverty frequently used is:
.
"Families who ‘lack resources to obtain the type of diet, participate in the activities and have the living conditions and amenities which are customary, or at least widely encouraged and approved, in the societies to which they belong’".
.
In other words, if families can’t afford takeaways, go on foreign holidays, wear designer trainers and have satellite TV like their better-off neighbours then they’re ‘living in poverty’.
.
Try telling that to a starving child in Africa, or an orphan fleeing war-torn Syria with just the rags on their back.
As there is NO real poverty in this country, the argument is entirely specious. And helping people who earn the average wage (or above) means they are generating tax income on this income. . Remember the definition of poverty frequently used is: . "Families who ‘lack resources to obtain the type of diet, participate in the activities and have the living conditions and amenities which are customary, or at least widely encouraged and approved, in the societies to which they belong’". . In other words, if families can’t afford takeaways, go on foreign holidays, wear designer trainers and have satellite TV like their better-off neighbours then they’re ‘living in poverty’. . Try telling that to a starving child in Africa, or an orphan fleeing war-torn Syria with just the rags on their back. David Lacey

12:01pm Tue 7 Jan 14

sineater says...

Back again with the same comment David,,as I said before would you have been happier if Labour let the banks go bankrupt and the country have "real "poverty like the thirties?
Back again with the same comment David,,as I said before would you have been happier if Labour let the banks go bankrupt and the country have "real "poverty like the thirties? sineater

1:01pm Tue 7 Jan 14

Taxpaying Homeowner says...

sineater wrote:
Back again with the same comment David,,as I said before would you have been happier if Labour let the banks go bankrupt and the country have "real "poverty like the thirties?
Whats your point?? Neither the story or David mentions the banks....

The story wraps itself in knots for no purpose other than make out tax relief as a percentage to be unfair to the lowest paid.

Alan Milburn does have a point that the threshold being set at £150k per working person means a household could get relief if they earn upto £300k between them. Thats seems quite high at first glance.
[quote][p][bold]sineater[/bold] wrote: Back again with the same comment David,,as I said before would you have been happier if Labour let the banks go bankrupt and the country have "real "poverty like the thirties?[/p][/quote]Whats your point?? Neither the story or David mentions the banks.... The story wraps itself in knots for no purpose other than make out tax relief as a percentage to be unfair to the lowest paid. Alan Milburn does have a point that the threshold being set at £150k per working person means a household could get relief if they earn upto £300k between them. Thats seems quite high at first glance. Taxpaying Homeowner

3:30pm Tue 7 Jan 14

sineater says...

THO, My point was in reply to Davids coverall standard chant that there is no poverty,,and would he have liked the economy to have collapsed completely so that poverty was the same level as when the banks crashed in '29. David mentions foreign holidays ,and sattelite t.v.,when people are struggling to pay their rent,and power bills,he's as nearly out of touch as cabinet members of the government.
THO, My point was in reply to Davids coverall standard chant that there is no poverty,,and would he have liked the economy to have collapsed completely so that poverty was the same level as when the banks crashed in '29. David mentions foreign holidays ,and sattelite t.v.,when people are struggling to pay their rent,and power bills,he's as nearly out of touch as cabinet members of the government. sineater

7:52pm Tue 7 Jan 14

Jonn says...

David Lacey wrote:
As there is NO real poverty in this country, the argument is entirely specious. And helping people who earn the average wage (or above) means they are generating tax income on this income.
.
Remember the definition of poverty frequently used is:
.
"Families who ‘lack resources to obtain the type of diet, participate in the activities and have the living conditions and amenities which are customary, or at least widely encouraged and approved, in the societies to which they belong’".
.
In other words, if families can’t afford takeaways, go on foreign holidays, wear designer trainers and have satellite TV like their better-off neighbours then they’re ‘living in poverty’.
.
Try telling that to a starving child in Africa, or an orphan fleeing war-torn Syria with just the rags on their back.
Maybe Africa and Syria should introduce a welfare state to bring the poorest out of poverty instead of a few wealthy controlling it's huge natural resources and keeping all the money.
[quote][p][bold]David Lacey[/bold] wrote: As there is NO real poverty in this country, the argument is entirely specious. And helping people who earn the average wage (or above) means they are generating tax income on this income. . Remember the definition of poverty frequently used is: . "Families who ‘lack resources to obtain the type of diet, participate in the activities and have the living conditions and amenities which are customary, or at least widely encouraged and approved, in the societies to which they belong’". . In other words, if families can’t afford takeaways, go on foreign holidays, wear designer trainers and have satellite TV like their better-off neighbours then they’re ‘living in poverty’. . Try telling that to a starving child in Africa, or an orphan fleeing war-torn Syria with just the rags on their back.[/p][/quote]Maybe Africa and Syria should introduce a welfare state to bring the poorest out of poverty instead of a few wealthy controlling it's huge natural resources and keeping all the money. Jonn

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