Childcare tax relief is change for the good

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Proposals for childcare vouchers may not offer immediate relief but their benefits will be felt in the long term says Susan McGhee, commercial director of Bertram Nursery Group

It was interesting to hear confirmation on the Government plans for the new Childcare Voucher Scheme. The Treasury has announced plans to reform the Childcare Voucher Scheme from 2015 and opened a 12 week public consultation on the proposal.

Currently the scheme allows households to claim up to £1,866 per child per year if their employer is signed up to the scheme. Many parents, including the self employed, are ineligible however.Under the proposed changes the current scheme will be extended to the self employed, those on parental leave and carers. All households with two working parents earning less than a combined £150,000 will be able to claim up to £1,200 per child per year.

The proposed changes prompted some negative responses from parents who are looking for some relief now rather than in three years time.

But long term I believe these changes will be good for working families. As a working mum myself I understand both the challenges that presents and the importance of knowing your child is well cared for in a safe, secure and stimulating environment. My professional role means I also understand that providing quality childcare and early years education has a cost.

Ensuring children are cared for by well trained, suitably qualified, caring and committed staff requires investment. In addition Bertram Nurseries and many others also provide attractive facilities, quality resources, high standards of cleanliness and nutritious meals. These factors all contribute to the cost of care so any help offered to our customers in meeting their childcare costs must be a positive thing.

Parents, particularly mums, return to work for many reasons but often because they have to. Parents who are balancing work and family currently will understandably look upon these changes with dismay as they do not offer any immediate relief. Perhaps if the changes were to be introduced before 2015 they would have received a more positive response from parents.

There is a drive to improve standards that is welcomed by all at Bertram. Perhaps the Government could consider investing in supporting the development of quality services and well trained staff. At Bertram we work tirelessly to deliver exceptional quality of care and education. We work in partnership with parents to meet their child’s needs and invest resources back into the business to improve our service.

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