A new report has suggested that mums who choose to stay at home with their children should be given an extra £8,000 for support. Researchers at the Civitas think tank plan to urge ministers to make an £8,000 childcare allowance available in order to help stay-at-home mums. Department of Education officials have reportedly been locked in “intense conversations” over how to improve childcare in England and make it more affordable.
The £8,000 allowance involves combining the existing child benefit and childcare grants into a single “family support benefit”.
It comes as the cost of living crisis continues in the UK, with childcare becoming even less affordable as costs rise nationwide.
This new allowance would give parents with children aged under four up to £8,000 per year.
The money can also be spent on external childcare, including those who pay relatives to look after their children or to support parents staying at home to do so.
The think tank estimates that there are more than two million “miserable mums” who are stuck at work when they would rather be caring for their children at home, but with rising costs this makes it almost impossible for the average household.
A government survey in 2019 found that two thirds of mums with children under four would prefer to work fewer hours in order to stay at home with their tots.
Frank Young, head of children and families at Civitas, told the Daily Telegraph: “For over 30 years, governments have pushed parents into work and subsidised childcare.
“This isn’t listening to mothers. Childcare policy is the wrong way around.”
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This would then be boosted above £8,000 by almost £2,000 paid to replace existing childcare subsidies.
For example the grant for 15 to 30 hours childcare for parents of kids aged three or four, which is currently paid directly to nurseries.
Anne Fennell, chair of the Mother at Home Matter campaign, said: “Conversations around childcare must positively include and recognise those mothers who…would prefer the choice to carry out this valuable work themselves.
“We may finally recognise that mothers are having to work very long hours away from their children for very little recompense.”