Government-backed childcare loans are not a solution to a crisis |  Day-care

Government-backed childcare loans are not a solution to a crisis | Day-care

Government-backed childcare loans are not a solution to a crisis |  Day-care

As Justine Roberts says, there is a crisis in the affordability and availability of good quality childcare in the UK (I asked Boris Johnson about the childcare crisis. His answer? ‘More Tumble Tots’, June 14). But her suggestion that a system of government-backed childcare loans would solve the financial dilemmas they face would be laughable if it weren’t so serious, especially after the lessons that should have been learned about the student loan system.

Childcare loans won’t solve this problem for parents, many of whom struggle to provide adequate food, clothing, shoes and heating for their children at home.

But this misses the main point, which is that all children are entitled to at least the basics of a decent life when they grow up. We all know and understand the research that shows that children’s physical, emotional, social and educational needs must be met before they stand a good chance of positive, healthy outcomes later in life. It’s not rocket science, we know it’s true.

Good, free childcare that is available to everyone should be the ultimate goal. In the meantime, childcare, well subsidized through the tax system, should be introduced. The costs could be supplemented by payments from parents who work full-time and have sufficient income. If it can work in other countries like Finland, why can’t we make it work here? It is not a luxury or a choice, it is an urgent necessity for our children, our society and all our future.
Deborah Kaplinsky
London

Laura Bates is absolutely right in pointing out the extraordinary difficulty many women face when childcare costs rise, and their wages do not (Childcare costs force women in Britain out of work. It doesn’t have to be, June 15).

However, it’s not just women who decide to stay home with their toddlers. My husband was delighted to sacrifice his economic security to be a father at home. And when flexible working was still in its infancy, he created a second career for himself, albeit one that paid less than my job. Meanwhile, I felt it was a heavy responsibility to be the main breadwinner for the family and there were times when I felt like I had missed something. There are gains and losses on both sides that are not purely economic.

Undoubtedly, there is a long-term financial blow when it comes to occupational pensions, something that needs to be discussed early on between parents to ensure mutual financial security in the longer term. Employers may also need to contribute, as partner-at-home parents don’t have to interfere with their employer’s business when it comes to sick children.
Yvonne Williams
Ryde, Isle of Wight

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