Interesting

No, it is interesting:

The Social Market Foundation made a fairly humble suggestion to overcome the birthrate problem, which is – and I’m paraphrasing: “Stop making it so insanely difficult and expensive to have and look after a child.” The National Childbirth Trust calculates the average cost of full-time nursery for a child under two at £263 a week, which even with both parents working is a hefty chunk of the average family budget. If you want to keep your child past that age, or even have another one, for some reason, those costs are only going to accrue.

I know there’s a viable environmental argument for not having children, but that doesn’t stop a lot of people still deeply wanting to have them, and it seems bizarre that we make it so difficult for those who do. The foundation estimates British working parents spend 22% of their income on full-time childcare – twice the average of other western economies;

What interests is that the base point here isn’t even being mentioned. Which is that the costs of such childcare don’t change just because someone else pays it. However we split the bill between parental payments and taxpayer ones the cost of the childcare is still the same.

Which means that our first question should be, well, given this cost, should the childcare be done at all? Or, perhaps, one parent should stop working and take care of their own brats? With two, at £526 a week, probably, yes. This is the societally correct solution for about half the population in fact. Median wages are about £25k a year, or £500 a week. So, for about half the population it is value destroying for them to go to work and pay for childcare. Their time is more highly valued doing the childcare instead.

This being true whoever pays for it.

24 thoughts on “Interesting”

  1. ’ I know there’s a viable environmental argument for not having children…’

    Is there? Or does that only apply in the First World, and not the Third?

  2. The article doesn’t seem to be saving

    “Someone else should pay for this” and “Subsidise” me

    It’s saying to stop making it so insanely expensive with rules and regulations. So yes, let’s remove deadweights costs from the childcare system and be done with this.

  3. Regulatory requirements raise the costs for providers. It is not enough to have cheerful women playing with children and wiping noses: they need endless certificates of indoctrination in Marxist child raising and other matters of importance to the state. Inter alia

  4. Lee,

    No, that isn’t saying that at all. It’s saying that there isn’t enough money. The mentality of Guardian writers is not that there are systemic problems but simply that the government (i.e. other people) have money that should be spent on them.

    I mean, if we fixed the problems with government, properly fixed the problems, most of the Guardian’s readers would be unemployed.

  5. As Ljh says, a lot of the cost is regulation. The need for certificates, for useless reports on the child’s progress, for activities that fit into the early-years curriculum. Probably the biggest cost increase comes from the regulations on adult to child ratios.

    Without bothering to read either, I wonder if what we’ve got here is a Social Market Foundation report that makes those points about reducing the actual cost by cutting regulation, then picked up by a Guardian article that wants to keep the underlying cost the same but pass it on to the taxpayer.

  6. “It seems like a stupid and impossible ask: hey, 34-year-olds who are still paying off your student loans and renting, can you hurry up and have a baby please?”

    How the fuck did you spend 3 years of your life getting a degree to be in the position where you don’t have a mortgage at 34? My hairdresser and her husband, who have a couple of City and Guilds qualifications have a mortgage and a baby and are younger than that.

    We have these people complaining about housing, but most of them seem to be utter Eloi. Their contributions to society are nothing more than boilerplate whines about the Tories, capitalism or the environment. And they do it from the most expensive city in the country and then complain about how skint they are.

    The Morlocks are buying houses. They leave school at 18 and go to work, doing something productive that people want done. Many of them work very hard, seizing every bit of overtime they can get, doing side jobs. They hook up and rent a flat, live reasonably well and save for a deposit on a place and then buy. They do it in Northampton, Swindon, Worcester. Nearly every person I hear whining about housing is a single person in London, and yeah you ain’t going to afford to buy like that. Meet a nice girl/guy and move out to Essex.

  7. The more regulation the more stuff reverts to family, friends, immediate community etc. And mostly therefore lost tax. At some point, even with this bunch of incompetent faux-cons, the penny might drop.

    Micro-businesses from home are increasing, not decreasing. A neighbour appeared at the door a couple of days ago, with an interesting menu for a simple catering offering, only within local delivery range obviously. They have an under-utilised kitchen, expertise in a particular cuisine, why not. No regs or fixed costs or anything like that, hence, minimal risks.

  8. “Four in 10 young people fear having children due to climate crisis.”

    Fine. We’ll get kids from the other 6. I’m not sure it’s a huge loss to society if the fraidy cats and rubes that believe everything government says don’t breed.

    30 years ago people were saying the same thing about nuclear war. Those women are childless and platinum members of the Cat of the Month club and probably have regrets.

    Even if you think all of this is real, it just ain’t going to be Ragnarok. The UK becomes 1.5 degrees warmer by 2100? So, the Cotswolds become more like the Loire Valley? Northumberland becomes more pleasant. Is that really something to worry about?

  9. BoM4

    Now stop being reasonable. As you very well know, while a degree or two in England will make things a tad more pleasant, it will render the lands of the duskier hued peoples suddenly totally unlivable, and the water wars will break out and woe will spread across the land(s). And you won’t be able to escape the bbc coverage

    Also, the catastrophe will wipe out several dozen small islands with several thousand people living on them, due to the associated catastrophic ocean rise, resulting in even more endless bbc programs on the horror of it all.

    I mean, it’s obvious, innit? We’re doomed.

  10. BiTiN,

    “Also, the catastrophe will wipe out several dozen small islands with several thousand people living on them, due to the associated catastrophic ocean rise, resulting in even more endless bbc programs on the horror of it all.”

    I mean, AND?

    Can’t we just fly those people somewhere, set them up for life and let the atolls drown?

    Not that I think this is actually happening. No-one is selling beach houses in the Seychelles for a song, despite the fact they’re all going to be underwater any time soon.

  11. The arithmetic for do-it-yourself must look even better when you allow for the parent avoiding income tax and NICs (and deferring pension contributions) while the child-minders pay all those deductions.

    I suppose the parents must simply be keen to keep their careers intact on the assumption that any years spent out of the labour market will prove a great handicap later.

    I commend a friend’s wife’s wisdom: “Careers are over-rated.”

  12. “Not that I think this is actually happening. No-one is selling beach houses in the Seychelles for a song, despite the fact they’re all going to be underwater any time soon.”

    And St Barack bought a nice $12m seaside mansion, so he’s not expecting the ocean to rise up and swallow it in a few years time…………..watch their actions not their words.

  13. “The National Childbirth Trust calculates the average cost of full-time nursery for a child under two at £263 a week, which even with both parents working is a hefty chunk of the average family budget.”

    Of course, if one of them wasn’t, it wouldn’t have to be paid at all.

    Yes, yes… there are plenty of other things that would, and a single-income family is no longer as viable as it used to be. But whose fault is that? Back when that was the norm, the tax burden hovered around 20%. Now it’s more like double that. “Double”… hmm…

    You know, if I were of a conspiracy-theorist frame of mind, I might suggest that “have it all” feminism was promoted by political types in order to increase the pool of people they could sponge off. But that would be crazy talk. Right?

  14. “Carers must be paid more!” Yeah! Progressive!

    “WTF! My childcare costs a bomb, I didn’t mean *actually* paid more. I meant, y’know, some sort of magic fairy dust unicorn fart ‘paid more’ that didn’t actually mean actually having to actually pay more.”

  15. “So, for about half the population it is value destroying for them to go to work and pay for childcare. Their time is more highly valued doing the childcare instead.”

    In the short-term, yes. But childcare costs are a transitional stage. After that, the mother’s income is often a very useful contribution to the family finances for the next 20-40 years. And if the parents divorce/separate, the mother has an income.

  16. Interesting thought there how much are increases in the divorce rate and number of single parents driving up need for childcare, also to what extent is grandparents working reducing capacity for childcare?
    You can bet that if childCare becomes free the perpetual benefits mob would be claiming discrimination that their kids couldn’t go as well

  17. One nursery worker can look after 6 children. It’s probably more efficient than having an engineer looking after two.

  18. @ Rob Fisher
    Tim’s not discussing engineers, who can afford to pay for childcare, but shelf-stackers and part-time office workers.

  19. Theo,

    “In the short-term, yes. But childcare costs are a transitional stage. After that, the mother’s income is often a very useful contribution to the family finances for the next 20-40 years. And if the parents divorce/separate, the mother has an income.”

    So, go back to work after the kids reach a certain age.

    I know the media likes to talk up power skirts and the effect on their careers but most women have jobs and once they have kids, rarely move up the ladder.

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