Families with a parent who stays at home have been “repeatedly punished” by coalition Government decisions, according to a policy analyst.
Writer Jill Kirby made the comments in light of new childcare plans announced by the Government, which are solely for families where both parents work.
Writing in The Times, Kirby said families with one earner “are so far beyond the Government’s sphere of concern that they have been repeatedly punished by coalition policies”.
“As far as Cameron, Clegg and Osborne are concerned, childcare is only worthy of financial recognition if someone else does it”, she said.
Under the Government’s plans couples who both work will be eligible for tax free childcare worth up to £2,000 a year per child.
The coalition says around 1.9 million families will benefit from the change, which comes into force from autumn next year.
Under the scheme, for every 80p parents pay in for childcare the Government will provide 20p.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the changes “will provide a childcare boost for millions of hardworking families”.
But Kirby criticised the plans, saying: “In the eyes of the coalition, a mother who cares for her own children cannot by definition be ‘hard-working’.”
She also referred to research from Christian charity CARE, which shows that one-earner families in the UK have a higher tax burden than those in other Western countries.
Earlier this month CARE showed that UK families living on a single income of £27,000 keep only 27p of every extra pound earned.
However, their counterparts in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – the world’s 34 richest countries – keep 66p.
In January it was revealed in Government research that more than a third of working mothers would give up their jobs and stay at home to look after their children if they could afford it.
The findings also said: “Mothers in higher socio-economic groups were more likely to prefer to work fewer hours if they could afford it in order to spend more time looking after their children”.
The research came from The Childcare and Early Years Survey, which was conducted between November 2012 and June last year, and was based on interviews with 6,400 parents.