W hen news broke on the eve of the budget that the Tories were going to announce a massive expansion of free childcare, I literally spilled the milk that I was carefully divvying up into baby bottles.
That mistake would cost me dearly because the main job of a parent, I have learned, is to heat things up in order to cool them down (food, baths, enthusiasm, etc).It soon became apparent that this was the chancellor’s job, too.Every kid in England will be offered 30 hours of free childcare from the end of parental leave until school age.
So far, so so good. Except it won’t be for every child, but mostly the ones who haven’t yet been conceived or, at least, won’t require a nursery place until after the general election.It won’t include my kids either, because our second child turned out to be two children – twins.
Oddly, we didn’t have £35,000 to spare each year, so my partner now looks after them full-time. Her “economic inactivity” means we won’t be eligible for free childcare because both parents have to be in work to benefit.But here’s the real kicker for your counting app: the government will pay a rate for childcare places that doesn’t cover the actual cost, which could drive providers out of business, so it’s not really clear why or how anyone would deliver them.Read more on theguardian.com