Oh dear

Marie only has 25 days of holiday a year and cannot understand why there is no more provision for the school holidays.

“I don’t see why there aren’t more holiday childcare providers available for all ages as there’s so much demand among all the parents I know. We are all so exhausted.”

The thing is, there is holiday childcare:

Marie, 40, from Sheffield, is mainly struggling to secure adequate holiday childcare for her three-year-old.

“Holiday clubs here only take school-age children and his nursery is term time only. The only option I’ve found is enrolling him and my five-year-old in a nursery that can accept both ages, at a cost of £100 per day, which I can’t afford.

It’s just that it costs £100 a day to provide it.

OK, so you don’t want to pay this out of your income. Meaning you don’t think it’s worth it. Or, moving up a step, your labour isn’t worth that £100 a day that the childcare would cost.

At which point why should someone else – ie, some taxpayer – be paying for your childcare that isn’t worth the having of?

20 thoughts on “Oh dear”

  1. Notably, we aren’t told what vital job Marie has…

    Further on, the trials and tribulations of two teachers: ’ We even contacted our MP, who said there was nothing he could do.’

    What exactly were you expecting?

  2. “They’ll have to watch a lot of TV, like during lockdown, since we have no other options”

    Back when I was a kid we’d be off out playing with our friends during the holidays and would roam for miles, only coming home for tea. Nowadays the little darlings aren’t allowed to go more than a few yards “because it isn’t safe”. FFS, my childhood was contemporary with the Moors Murders.

  3. Ah but more economic transactions, even if low or no value, means more tax for the state and it’s ever increasing scope. Think of all the NI, tax, business rates, inspectors and certifications that come with a nursery. And then think of the state as a protection racket taking a slice of every little part….

  4. Bloke in North Dorset

    Kris, 46, from Fakenham, Norfolk, was, like many other parents, unable to secure summer holiday provision.

    “Thankfully my wife and I have the same summer holidays as the kids, since we’re both teachers, but in this area there is next to nothing for primary school children in terms of summer childcare, because the town’s local daycare has all but closed due to the pandemic.

    FFS, whatever happened to self help and community spirit? And these are teachers!

    When our son was about 10 there wasn’t a youth club in the area so my wife and a few other mothers of kids the same age got together and started one in the village hall. They even ran it during the day in school holidays. Naturally it became very popular and they started to get problem children, but they didn’t last long because part of the deal was that parents were expected to pitch in and if they didn’t their children had to leave.

    When the founders’ children grew up and stopped using it naturally their mother’s (and a couple of fathers) also moved on. “What shall we do?” cried other parents as if the answer wasn’t obvious.

  5. Well, what everybody else said, obviously. But this does seem to be one of those hard-luck stories that doesn’t seem to quite stack up. If Marie knew she needed childcare for her 3 year old over the holidays, why would she enroll him in a term-time only Nursery? Plenty in South Yorkshire that operate year-round…

    And as to the cost, the 3 year old will be entitled to 2 or 4 days (depending on circumstances) free (well, paid for by someone else anyway). The remainder can be paid for before Basic Rate tax using Tax Free Childcare. Plus she can presumably afford this already as she does during term times, so no actual difference in cost there?

    Five year old then goes to the holiday club she mentions, so that’s the only additional cost. Ok scheduling and logistics might be tricky depending on her job and locations, but that’s hardly an insurmountable problem…

  6. Arthur the cat
    August 4, 2021 at 7:47 am

    Well Arthur, I’d usually be flat on my back reading comics. The other kids were the ones racing around outside.

    But I agree with your point.

  7. The decline in quality of childcare seems to go hand in hand with our sentimentality about children. I wonder if they are related.

  8. BiND, I would be surprised if it was possible to arrange something through local initiative without breaking many laws and regulations. The government wiped out any chance of private nurseries being able to exist without massive hoop-jumping and credentialist restrictions.

  9. Why have kids if yr only interest is how you can park them on someone else.

    Back in the 60s the man worked and the woman looked after the kids. The wages were enough to make that possible as well as a slowly climbing lifestyle–holidays (though not abroad) central heating, fitted carpets and colour telly. Despite tech progress the state has drained out all that prosperity. Two wages are barely enough..

  10. Surely men who cannot provide sufficiently for their families should have the decency to commit hari kari, after enduring the two years waiting period before payouts for suicide are permissible under the policy’s provisions.

  11. @ Arthur the Cat
    It was the same before you were born – we went out and played with friends in the holidays. No mobile ‘phones to call for emergency help – if we’d sprained an ankle the unhurt pal(s) would help the injured home.

  12. “Marie has only 25 days holiday a year”
    *only* – I never had 25 days paid holiday a year
    Louise says her 5-year-old “potentially has autism” – NO! he either is on the autistic spectrum or he isn’t, there is no potential about it. Her boys are so badly behaved that the after-school club cannot cope with them: that sounds awfully like a bad mother trying to excuse her child’s behaviour by claiming that he’s autistic. Properly handled autistic children are not badly behaved and holiday clubs *can* manage them.
    Kris and his wife are both teachers so when their kids are out of school so are they. If they cannot take turns to supervise their children while the other is marking homework then they are a failed household.

  13. “He’s five and potentially has autism.”

    Tell your hudband to keep it zipped in future. We’ve enough substandard kiddies to subsidise without the two of you increasing the tax burden.

  14. this does seem to be one of those hard-luck stories that doesn’t seem to quite stack up

    It’s the Guardian, they never do.

  15. “Despite tech progress the state has drained out all that prosperity. Two wages are barely enough”

    No, feminism has drained out the prosperity. If you double the workforce you halve the wages. Maybe not in terms of cash figures, but in terms of what you can buy with those wages, especially things that are in relatively fixed supply, like housing…….the 1950s household earned whatever Mr 1950s managed to bring in. The 21st century household earns whatever Mr and Mrs 21st Century can bring in collectively. Guess how much a house costs in each scenario?

    Plus of course its entirely possible to live a 1960s lifestyle on a single man’s wage. It just means eschewing all the benefits of everything thats been achieved since. It means living in an un-centrally heated house, with no double glazing, possibly no car, bus or bike to work, never eating out, black and white TV with 2 channels, fixing everything that breaks rather than replacing it, darning your own socks, doing all your own house and car repairs, etc etc etc.

    What you actually mean is its not possible to have the benefits of the 1960s lifestyle AND the benefits of the 21st century lifestyle, all on a single mans wages. Which would normally be termed having your cake and eating it.

  16. @MC: “It’s almost as if the 2 parent family evolved for solid practical reasons.”

    Yes. The reason being that men could not otherwise tell if children were theirs (and sometimes not even then). That reason has gone away with DNA testing.

    @Jim: “If you double the workforce you halve the wages.”

    Really? According to https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/uksectoraccounts/compendium/economicreview/april2019/longtermtrendsinukemployment1861to2018 there were about 11 million people employed in 1855, compared to 32 million in 2018 (section 8). That’s a factor of 2.8 – did wages fall by more than half in that period?

  17. @Charles
    Jim should have qualified “other things being equal” – a lot has changed (including population numbers) between today and 1855. (Or is that a typo for 1955? A lot has still changed.)

  18. You cannot double the workforce while keeping all other things equal. That’s a major upheaval to society.

    Yes, that’s 1855, as you can see by following the link.

    But it should be obvious that you can only simultaneously double the workforce and halve wages if the new workforce is half as efficient so it does not produce any more value than the old one.

  19. I reckon what Charles is saying is right – that generally if you expand the labour force then you expand what actually gets produced too (including production of services, of course). And if you do that without expanding the population, just by increasing the proportion of the population that works, then you do end up producing more per capita and therefore being able to consume more per capita.

    The bit where Jim seems to have a stronger point is that we can’t easily produce more land (though we could convert more land for residential use if we collectively wanted to…) so the logic that a “richer” society just ends up bidding up property prices and therefore the rental or mortgage component of living costs has a ring of plausibility to it. Has this effect been quantified by anyone? Strikes me as dubious the effect would be so great as to completely wipe out the societal gains of a second income.

    But I do suspect the main reason families feel a need to have two incomes to live an acceptable lifestyle is simply that the definition of acceptable has moved on. Rather like we don’t all work ten hour weeks, even if on paper wages are so much higher than historical levels that if we wanted to, many of us could live on it. Anyone making £40+ an hour could do so reasonably comfortably in fact (that would be a gross of £20k+ per annum, which is certainly liveable) and yet very few people making that much per hour do drop their hours down so severely. The Joneses you’re trying to keep up with if you’re in that kind of job at that kind of level (not an exceptional level but clearly this is a lot of pay grades above minimum wage) are generally not going to see £20k pa as a “comfortable” amount to live on.

    Having two of you working rather than one doesn’t generally double your income – generally the marginal “should we or shouldn’t we” decision comes down to whether the lower earner works, and there are extra costs like childcare which bite more for the second person going to work than just one of you. But it still provides a substantial rise in income for many couples, which may allow a noticeable bump in consumption or savings. Without that bump, a lot of people would feel like they were “only just making do”. There are also portfolio-style diversification effects – smooths income out if one of your employers sheds jobs, and gives you two lottery tickets for the off-chance that one of your careers takes off in a big way – but I’m not sure how much those weigh on people’s minds when they make their choices. I think a bigger influence decision-wise is simply how much the marginal, generally lower paid, worker actually enjoys/hates going out to work every day, compared to whatever they’d be doing if they stayed home instead. If their only potential source of work was the local satanic mill, more families would clearly choose to make do on a single income.

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