Okay so obviously my babydar is far more finely tuned than it once was to anything baby related, whether that be adverts on the TV, offers on nappies in supermarkets (which no doubt will cease come September) and baby-related stories in the media…I still find that Evian advert with the rollerskating babies just plain wrong on sooooo many levels.
First off we had The Guardian this week which had the cheery news that it now costs more than £200,000 to raise a child, which apparently is up 4% on last year and a staggering 43% from seven years ago. But then what is £100,000 between family? Perhaps if we don’t pay pocket money and take that off his or her bill that might make up for some of it.
Obviously the bulk of this is on childcare costs which can only be described as loopy with childcare for 25 hours, an average week in a nursery, comes to a staggering £212.50 a week in some areas of London and a still hefty average of £4,576 in England.
Granted, we all know starting a family can be an expensive business and is clearly more expensive than owning a cat or a dog. It will obviously mean massive change not only to the house – not sure what the dog will make of it yet – but also to the pocket with one wage coming in and a not very brilliant maternity pay.
Then on Wednesday we had the front page of the Daily Mail announce that the EU, obviously getting tired of banning strange shaped fruit and veg, may be looking at trebling maternity pay. This was surprising in itself but even more surprising that the Mail found room for it with the continuing Cheryl Cole drama.
Currently employers in the UK provide six weeks at 90% of salary, followed by a longer period of £123 a week, so obviously from our point of view this move would be warmly welcomed. Of course the Mail and the grumbly UK Business Leaders – no doubt mostly men, but then I doubt childcare or money is an issue for them – saw this as far from a good thing as it would no doubt discourage firms from employing women of a child bearing age and encourage them from coming back to work sooner. Hmm rather smacks of seeing it as the glass is half empty and obviously they didn’t mention anything about the rising costs and costs of childcare. Actually if you read it all they seem to be worried about is that they’ll have to pay for it themselves
And of course who would be the first to report about mothers neglecting children and returning to work too early which means the children are brought up by strangers and then the kids would end up being mindless yobs and not getting jobs when they were older because their unloving mothers had to return to work early, not the Daily Mail, of course not. But these were the very same people who called this prospect of extra support for young mothers and families a ‘burden’. Talk about not supporting the future.