Blog & Articles

After Labour's offer, the political battle on childcare has heated up

Date: 27. September 2013
Vidhya Alakeson

Earlier this week, Labour retook the initiative on childcare with the announcement of a major extension in free care for three-and-four-year-olds. Having been the party that established childcare as a new frontier of the welfare state when in government, Labour’s lack of a clear policy direction over the last year had left room for the coalition to creep in with its proposals. A YouGov poll for the Resolution Foundation conducted before the announcement revealed that even Labour supporters felt that the Lib Dems had better ideas on childcare than their own party. But Labour has come back with force. Will its ideas on childcare help it reclaim the all important women’s vote – a major battle ground at the next election? And will the Tories try to reclaim the initiative next week in Manchester?

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What to make of Labour’s childcare announcement

Date: 26. September 2013
Giselle Cory

Now is a good time to talk about childcare. Costs are rocketing but incomes are not. All the while childcare support has been cut.

None of this has passed by lower income families who are struggling to make work pay.

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The Childcare Announcement That Never Was

Date: 18. January 2013
James Plunkett

This blog originally appeared on the Huffington Post

Uncertainty continues to cloud the government's plans on childcare. Latest rumours suggest they may now delay any big announcement until after the budget. If government sources are to be believed, the most recent plans have been scuppered by a tag team of HMT officials and senior Lib Dems. The Treasury is reportedly worried that childcare costs could soar if the government went ahead with its plan for £2,000 childcare tax breaks - pumping new money into the system without getting a grip on prices - making a bad situation worse. Meanwhile, Nick Clegg and his allies are known to fear that an approach based on tax relief would funnel support to high income families. That would send a very odd message about priorities when low and middle income households have already suffered badly from childcare cuts.

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On Childcare, Tax Breaks for Nannies Can't Be the Answer

Date: 1. December 2012
James Plunkett

This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post

Few political debates have made more progress in 2012 than that around childcare. In the past 12 months, all three major parties have come to see reform as an economic and political necessity.

Although hard policy proposals are yet to emerge, it's now clear that one yardstick for 2015 will be the strength of parties' plans for improving the availability and cost of childcare for low to middle income working parents. In the meantime, a search is on for fresh ideas that would gain early ground on this politically valuable new terrain.

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America’s working women

Date: 11. September 2012
Giselle Cory

This post originally appeared on Coffee House, The Spectator Blog

We know that the growth of women in work has been a significant driver of household income growth in the UK over the last 50 years. In fact, children are now most likely to grow up in poverty in male breadwinner households.

Today’s publication of the annual snapshot of America’s middle class - The State of Working America – reveals a similar trend on the other side of the Atlantic. As Figure 1 shows, American families with women in work saw their family incomes rise from the early 1970s until the early 2000s. Conversely, families without a woman in work (both couples and single parents) did not.

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The lesson Cameron needs to learn from Birgitte Nyborg

Date: 9. February 2012
Gavin Kelly

This post originally appeared on Gavin's New Statesman blog

David Cameron has been in Stockholm this week, expressing his love for all things Nordic from economic openness, to free schools, and the Danish TV series The Killing.

Based on his pronouncements today he's doubtless also been attracted to Borgen, the political drama in which a female prime minister juggles coalition politics and the demands of a young family at the same time as driving through her commitment to equality in the corporate boardroom.

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Macroeconomic Analysis

Women’s work – an opportunity for growth we can’t afford to pass up

Date: 12. December 2011
James Plunkett and

This post originally appeared on Left Foot Forward

As economic forecasts continue to head south, it’s worth pausing to ask a simple question:

Where exactly do we expect future growth in living standards to come from – even once a recovery takes hold?

The list of possible answers to that question isn’t long.  In fact, when it comes to household income growth, there are effectively four:

    • Pay could grow faster than inflation

    • We could all work longer hours

    • More of us could work; or

    • The state could get more generous

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