The cost of children

Well, yes, OK:

It costs £200,000 to raise a child from birth to the age of 21 – which equates to about £800 a month.

Sure, no doubt.

Dr Katherine Rake, chief executive of the FPI, said: \”I think the cost of raising a child has a lot to do with the cost of childcare. The amount of affordable childcare is still limited and as a result people have to significantly adjust their working patterns. So the cost in terms of lost earnings is even bigger, especially for women.\”

As she says.

Rake argued that one of the best measures of how supportive policies are of parents is to what extent society shares the cost of raising children.

Umm, hang on a minute. Having \”more affordable child care\”, ie, having state subsidised child care, doesn\’t make those costs go away. All we\’ve done is shift them. From women not going to work in order to care for their children onto other women going to work in order to care for other women\’s children.

We\’ve still got the same amount of child care going on and given the cost of providing different buildings etc for it all to take place in we might well find that it costs more in total as well. Especially once we start adding the layers of bureaucracy which state provision seems to entail.

It isn\’t immediately obvious that paying people to do childcare is cheaper than the loss of earnings from people doing their own childcare (it might be, this is true, given the division and specialisation of labour, but that\’s something which needs to be proven, not assumed).

The report finds that many families are pushed into poverty as a result of having children.

*Shrug*. Have children, be poor, don\’t have children, don\’t be poor. Hey, your life, your genes, you make the decision. Quite why other people should be made poor through taxation as a result of your decision to perpetuate your genes is somewhat difficult to determine.

9 comments on “The cost of children

  1. If you insist on other people paying for your children, you should acknowledge their right to decide whether you can have children in the first place, how you bring them up, and so on. Fair’s fair.

  2. A government spokesman said a new childhood and families taskforce would “strip away barriers to a happy childhood and successful family life”.

    good grief!

    Perhaps there should be a new hotline, if you spot a barrier to a happy childhood or a successful family life you can call it in and the Ministry of Happiness and Success will guarantee to have it removed within 6 weeks (or some such number).

  3. What AD says.

    Plus, if you actually grind the figures, you’ll find that ‘the taxpayer’ is probably better off with subsidised childcare – the extra income tax that a working mum pays is > the after-tax cost of 1/4 of a nursery nurse, and so on. So for a given total net tax take, even those who do not claim the subsidy are slightly better off.

    As to the bureaucracy bit, why does it need any more bureaucracy than Vouchers For Schools? You can make it as unbureaucratic as you like.

  4. The core of the problem here is that children no longer are necessary for survival as old people no longer are live-in family members but get fostered out to care homes and then mostly forgotten.

    Plus women are free to work nowadays instead of being stuck at home, and the reason they wanted to be free of that drudge in the first place is that being full-time mom and nurse to one’s parents is a pretty crap job that no-one enjoys all that much.

    So children and old people instead of being a important investment that brings in wealth and helping hands to the family, have become a elective cost, a luxury item, and it’s financially a foolish decision to have them around(a bit like buying a boat)

    And since IHT/forced care payments swallows a lot of the inheritance there isn’t the incentive either to earn that money and look after the old, after all, the state has to pay because that is what the old dears paid tax for all their lives, right?

    I don’t think that this way of doing things will last longer than my generation, love doesn’t appear to be a great incentive to keep things going as the amount of abandoned, family-less and disposable people of all ages everywhere prove to us.

  5. MW:
    > As to the bureaucracy bit, why does it need any more
    > bureaucracy than Vouchers For Schools? You can
    > make it as unbureaucratic as you like.

    Umm, no, you really can’t. Whatever the state takes up, becomes bureaucratic.

    This has happened even in the Nordic society where I live in. I’m not altogether against providing public childcare – one definite upside is that it somewhat slows down the creation of a welfare-dependent hereditary underclass – but the bureaucracy and related nonsense seem to be unavoidable.

    The most recent scandal here, BTW, was that staff at child nurseries had forced babies to eat, and in order to keep them still at the table, the babies had been tied to the chairs with duct tape. If a parent would have done that their own offsprings, the children would maybe have been taken away, but now that trained, qualified staff is doing it, nothing will come out of it except hot air.

  6. If the full cost of childcare is not exposed, then how do people make correct choices as to the quality?

    A flat subsidy of £300 makes £400 childcare seem expensive to £300 childcare (i.e. £100 vs “free”), but that last £100 goes on the quality of the carers, enabling the nursery to get the best.

    Distortion. Distortion. Distortion.

    That is what Blair should have said all those years ago.

    To me though, the biggest issue is consent. Where is it? Why is my household impoverished so others may have as many kids as they want and get additional housing, childcare, education for them all? My borough of Ealing is building four bedroom houses for these large families whilst most of those who pay for it cannot afford such accommodation and end up with bunk beds.

    Once people are on benefits directly or indirectly, there should be no additional funding, allowances or resource. entitlements when they have additional kids.

    I am not saying these people should not get such things, but those who think they should can fund or collect for them, as long as they keep away from State lobbying, which basically just gets us back into the same problem of coercion again.

  7. pjt, to be fair here, there is a nursery voucher system in the UK which is tricky to work out in £-s-d but the nursery does it for you and knocks it off the bill. The admin and faff is minimal. If your child starts (private) school before age 5 you can still claim it as a matter of routine.

    It’s only about a third or half the cost but certainly softens the blow, and it is not in any way means tested or conditional on anything, and is of course taxable in the hands of the school or nursery (reducing cost even further).

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