Pay mums to stay at home

Mums should be paid to stay at home, says study

Mothers should be paid to stay at home and raise their children, according to a new report released today.

The review found that most women wanted to work either part-time or not at all while children were under five, but are prevented from doing so because state benefits have been channelled into tax credits.

The Policy Exchange think-tank is calling on the Government to scrap the current system of tax credits and grants in favour of a universal childcare allowance – worth £60 per young child per week – that parents could keep or spend on a care provider.

Maria Miller, the shadow family minister, who will help to promote the report, said: ‘Support for families in the first three years is still a neglected area of policy.

‘Great strides have been made in some areas but many women are still feeling they have got really little choice in how they structure their family’s life.’

The report, called Little Britons, suggests that billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money has been wasted on formal childcare, when many women would prefer to care or their kids themselves.

Labour has spent £17 billion on services for young children in the past decade in an attempt to encourage mothers back into work.

But Catherine Hakim, of the London School of Economics and one of the report’s authors, said: ‘Numerous studies into parental values regarding childcare have revealed a much greater diversity of parental preferences than the Government would like to believe.

‘One study showed that, in an ideal world, only one third of mothers in Britain would use any childcare at all before their child’s third birthday.’

The study was critical of the Working Tax Credit system, which distributes £1.4 billion a year for childcare and is aimed at tackling child poverty by encouraging lone parents back into work.

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