Mirror Jason Beattie 30/09/2009
Tax breaks on childcare will be scrapped to fund free nursery places for youngsters from hard-up families.Around 250,000 children from “low and modest income” homes will be lookedafter for 10 hours every week. The childcare vouchers scheme will be phased out to fund the places.At the moment parents can pay part of their salary straight to childminders or nurseries and not pay tax on the cash.Lower-rate taxpayers can save up to £962 a year and mums and dads paying the top rate up to £1,195 a year. Gordon Brown said: “For all those mums and dads who struggle to juggle work and home, I am proud to announce today that by reforming tax relief we will by the end of the next Parliament be able to give the parents of a quarter of a million two-year-olds free childcare for the first time.” Sally Russell, of parenting website Netmums.com, said: “It is the families on low incomes where both parents are earning who feel hardest done by.”It will be important that these new free childcare places will benefit those families, especially if they are losing tax relief in other areas.”
But Margaret Morrissey, of campaign group Parents Outloud, said: “Are we actually going to make it worse for parents?” Labour aides said the vouchers system is unfair because the wealthiest are benefiting most.