Thursday 28 May 2015.
Dear Mr Cameron,
Back in the day the man as bread winner was written in stone. I recall a conversation with my wife about her Father and her asking him what he did for a living, his response was, “I provide”. Their decision to have children meant that his wife gave up work as a nurse to raise the family once his ability to earn was enough to support a family. Child care happened in the home.
Times change and these days the idea of a single (male) bread winner for a family is disappearing and is perhaps entirely absent in the younger generation. These days women and men work and both can look to working until retirement and although there is still work to be done to achieve parity in the work place and on the career ladder, work is ubiquitous and, from a Tory point of view, mandatory, including forced labour.
Your proposed increase in free child care is an acknowledgement of the central role work now has to play in everyone’s life once they achieve working age and it will ease the financial burden for many.
What is not talked about is the declining pay packet which has been falling since the mid nineties and, since the bank crash, has gone into a massive decline. In 2013 research by the TUC revealed that the UK’s annual pay packet had shrunk by £52bn compared with the start of the financial crisis. Inevitably such a huge hit to pay meant that businesses suffered in productivity as people’s buying power fell and we have the situation we are in today where, in real terms, work doesn’t pay.
The increase in free child care, which looks good on the face of it, is a damning indictment of Osbornes economic policies and austerity in which everyone, apart from the top 1/3 who are enjoying a wealth bonanza, is much worse off.
I comes down to this, child care as a necessity and not a choice, is simply wrong. What we are seeing is a cycle of decline, wages fall, buying falls, production falls, wages fall… Work is not paying and more free childcare is not a solution, it is a symptom of decline and Osbornomics are driving that decline.