A lot of the debate surrounding the planned cuts to Tax Credits has focused on the idea that Tax Credits “cost” the nation however many millions or billions of pounds.We as families “cost” the nation money.
One thing nobody seems to be thinking about is how much more all of these children will “cost” if they are left to dwindle, with no help.
If parents’ tax credits are cut, they become stressed and worried about money. Perhaps they end up getting a second or third job to try and make ends meet; they’re so busy trying to pay the bills, they don’t have time to spend playing with their children.
When parents are too busy fighting fires with their financial situation, they aren’t able to give their children the attention they need. But that’s ok; the government are offering 30 free hours of childcare per week for all children over 3. So someone else can be paid to spend quality time with our children.
Except even the very best nursery worker can’t possibly love my child like I can. Even the best nursery worker is still working on a low wage, filling in endless paperwork to document the fact they’re doing their job properly, all the while trying to keep an eye on however many children they are responsible for – what is the legal ratio these days?
So we have parents working every single hour they can cram in, in order to pay the bills. Their children are sent to whichever nursery has a space and opens for the hours they work. Children grow up spending more quality time with a nursery keyworker than their own parent, who becomes some sort of glorified night-time carer: give them breakfast; drop them at nursery; work all day; collect them from nursery; put them to bed. If they work weekends, the child becomes a problem to be solved; something to be farmed out.
Forget the parents and their never-ending stress, sleepless nights, constant illness through lack of rest. How do we think this will affect the children? Does anyone seriously think that being farmed out to whoever can take care of them while their parents work from dawn til dusk or longer, will not damage these children in any way?
And what happens when these children grow up? Perhaps they end up with mental health issues, unable to believe their parents loved them if they were never in the same room long enough to say it? Perhaps they become one of those people who is always “ill” with one imagined illness or another – because when they were growing up they learned that their parents only had time for them (took time off work) was if they were poorly.
How much will that “cost” the nation, when you consider that these cuts are expected to affect three million families?
Aside from that, how many families, faced with a substantial cut to their tax credits, will find that for them, work doesn’t pay? Some may decide they’re better off “losing” their job and claiming Income Support or Job Seeker’s Allowance – at least then they can be there for their children, reading them stories and helping with their homework.
How much will that “cost” the nation?
And what if the children of those families grow up in the way the right wing media thinks a lot of my generation has? Career benefit claimants, with no desire to work for a living? They’ve had no role model of someone going out to work every day; it could well happen. This new generation could become the right wing media’s worst nightmare, and just decide they don’t need to work.
How much will that “cost” the nation then?
Aside from all of that, has nobody considered the impact it will have on the economy, if three million families suddenly don’t have any disposable income? Suddenly three million families aren’t buying the little extras they used to buy. They’re not going on trips they used to be able to afford. They’re not spending any money that isn’t absolutely essential. While we’re all busy moaning about how much Tax Credits “cost” the nation, nobody seems to stop and think that the Tax Credits we’re all paid go straight back into the economy. None of us is squirreling away our benefits to a tax free savings account in the Caymans.
It’s all well and good saying they need to cut Tax Credits, but while they plead poverty when it comes to benefit payments, they’ve managed to find the cash somewhere to cut Inheritance Tax so as to help people at the higher end of society.
I understand that something needs to be done about benefits. The current system doesn’t work. But what they’re proposing is condemning millions of families to the scrap heap. And that’s not just the parents; it’s their children, and potentially the generation that comes after that too.