Monday, September 23, 2013

Nanny state

Literally.  And apparently completely oblivious to the implications;
Working parents of three and four-year-olds in England would get 25 hours of free childcare a week if Labour wins the next general election.
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls plans to raise the banking levy by £800m a year to fund the move.
Three and four-year-olds currently receive 15 hours of free care a week, but Mr Balls wants to increase this.
Meanwhile, he has asked the government's spending watchdog to review his party's economic plans.
Money would be provided for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but it would be up to the governments there to decide whether to spend it in the same way as England.
This is the attitude that came close to destroying England in the post-WWII era. It took Hard-hearted Maggie to rescue the Brits from their folly and restore prosperity. By coincidence, we just noted the cinematic genius of John Boulting in portraying the situation, circa 1959. The current Labour Party seems determined to favor Back to the Future.

[Upon further review] We're not all right, Ed (there's no such thing as free childcare);
The first rule of thumb of any offer of free childcare in England is that it is seldom totally gratis at the point of use - despite protestations to the contrary.
Unless you are lucky enough to live close to a state-maintained nursery, attached to a school or children's centre, you are more than likely going to be asked to pay an unofficial top-up fee.
They'll have to pay to let their little darlings play;
The most common technique is requiring parents to take more than the set number of free hours (currently 15 hours a week), and charging a set fee for the extra time. This extra time can be as little as 15 minutes on top of a three-hour session.
One nursery in south-west London requires parents of three- and four-year-olds to pay £28 per three-and-a-half hour morning or afternoon session. So that's £28 for the extra half an hour's care each day.
At five mornings a week that's a weekly total of £140.
There are also registration fees and one-off administration charges. It all seems a bit unfair, until you realise that the average value of the hourly Nursery Education Grant is only about £3.75 an hour.
Bait and switch, never gets old in politics.

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