HOW can improved childcare relieve income inequality, exactly?

[Image: Thinkstock.]

[Image: Thinkstock.]

I have doubts about this.

Maybe improved childcare could have a positive effect, many years from now, but I don’t see it helping immediately.

I don’t see how it would close the gap between female and male pay, although reducing worries about the cost of looking after children certainly might help families remain together. What about other reasons for them splitting, though?

There is no possibility of a meaningful rise in the minimum wage (don’t patronise us by calling it a “National Living Wage”, Tories) or a link between benefits and inflation while we have a Conservative government.

Nor will the regions and devolved legislatures receive anything from a Tory central government.

Perhaps the research demonstrates exactly how its suggestions can be implemented but without that piece of the puzzle, this is building castles in the sky.

Improved childcare has been identified as the single policy that could do most to reduce income inequality, in research at Heriot-Watt University.

That could be allied to closing the gap between women’s and men’s pay, and finding ways to help families remain together.

Raising the minimum wage and linking benefits to inflation is seen as effective.

A boost to the regions and nations of Britain would also have an impact.

This would, according to the research, spread prosperity more evenly around the UK.

However, the Edinburgh research found that increases in part-time pay, encouragement to take up unclaimed benefits, and efforts to increase housing supply had less effect on inequality.

Source: Childcare ‘key to reducing inequality’ – BBC News

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13 thoughts on “HOW can improved childcare relieve income inequality, exactly?

  1. Sid

    Really, really surprised you have this view!

    Children DO benefit immediately.
    Isn’t that a good enough reason?

    Never mind, the financial rewards in a generations time.

    (Perhaps, I’m missing your point)


    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      This is about income inequality – not about benefits to the children.
      The parents’ income would remain unchanged.

      1. Sid

        Quoting last paragraph…”No other policy has such potential to change the lives of children and their families while improving the prospects of Scotland’s economy in the short and long term.”

        The lives of the children are improved immediately, and in the long term, the nation ‘should’ benefit from a better educated/more skilled workforce…

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        And how does it relieve income inequality? That’s the question, and you still haven’t answered it.

  2. Florence

    What an odd suggestion, but likely to be made within the framework of current and proposed DWP policy of everyone being endlessly available for “work” even those with very young children. Then it makes sense but only if you can suspend disbelief about it ending inequality.

    So another think tank chocolate tea pot.

  3. Sven Wraight

    Women usually look after the children while the men work (for pay). If there’s good, cheap childcare, women can do the kind of work that gets paid.

      1. Sven Wraight

        While most WAGE inequality is down to bosses paying women less for the same job/hours, the problem in the title is INCOME equality: women working by raising children at home get paid no money.
        We may be addressing slightly different points!
        PS I’m not using block capitals to shout: I just can’t italicise for emphasis.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        I’ve addressed both of those, though.
        Childcare really isn’t going to solve income inequality in this generation, and to me that seems like kicking the can down the street.

  4. Sid

    “And how does it relieve income inequality? That’s the question, and you still haven’t answered it.”

    You see no correlation between improved childcare and improved education? Improved education leads to a better educated society et al….

    (I’m a retired teacher, so I believe in the all-round ‘value’ of education) Value, not used purely as a monetary commodity….

    I’m still missing something from your assertion!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      How does any of that encourage employers to pay other people more money?
      In case you haven’t noticed, average pay is currently £3,500 less per year than in 2008, in real terms, while the One Per Cent are soaring away with huge pay rises for themselves.

  5. Barry Davies

    The problem is that despite the equal pay act, it is still the situation that jobs seen as being for women get paid less than those seen to be for men, although of course the women and men doing those jobs get paid the same. This means that if you work in a Bank, (masculine role) you get paid far more than in any carding profession (feminine role) until this dichotomy is addressed the divide will continue.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I reckon that’s about the most sexist thing I’ve seen today.
      Women work in banks. In fact, men and women do many of the same jobs. I don’t know what you mean by a “carding profession”.
      And you are wrong – women and men in the same job still get paid different rates.

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