LONDON, March 22, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The coalition government’s budget, which refuses to offer any tax credit help to families with stay-at-home mothers, has touched off outrage and raised questions about whether highly placed political figures are trying to expand state day care at the expense of the family.
“Working families who are struggling with their childcare costs, or families where parents want to go to work but can’t afford to are in greater need of state support for child care than families where one parent chooses to stay at home and look after their children full-time,” according to a Treasury briefing reported by the Daily Mail on Tuesday. The document was later removed.
Prime Minister David Cameron later confirmed that, starting in 2015, families with only one parent working will not receive any tax benefit for child care. Working couples with a joint income of up to £300,000 ($456,840 U.S.), however, can qualify for tax breaks worth up to £1,200 (just over $1,800 U.S.) a year per child.
Single parents who are employed and earn less than £150,000 will also be eligible, the Mail reports.
The campaign group Mothers at Home Matter said the policy is a “slap in the face for two million stay-at-home mothers.”
Pro-family advocates in Ireland are warning the British that the budget reflects the government’s commitment to furthering a socialist agenda, agreed to at the European level, to reduce incentives for staying at home, and force mothers into the workforce — and children into state-sponsored child care with new child benefit and tax rules.
Kathy Sinnott, a former Member of the European Parliament and a Dublin-based family activist, echoed the criticisms coming from stay-at-home mothers’ groups, saying that the plan relates to the EU “Barcelona Agreement” of 2001 to which all member states of the EU are signatory. The agreement commits state governments to ensure that by 2010 one-third of children under three years old must be raised in state childcare, with 90 percent by their third birthday.
Sinnott called this part of the EU’s basic socialist agenda to override the rights of families and transfer the responsibilities of raising children to the state. She quotes one Socialist MEP who spoke during the European Parliamentary debate on the agreement in 2008, saying that this is not just enable women to work, but that “it is a better way to raise children.”
The Socialist MEP, Sinnott said, went on to explain that “parents could not be relied on to form children into the ‘right’ kind of citizens.”
In 2009, Irish Family Affairs Minister Mary Hanafin confirmed that similar cuts to the Irish children’s allowance was intended to push the country further towards the goal of compliance with the Agreement. Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said the government proposed to make up the loss to families by offering “free” childcare for all children under three.
Advocates of the scheme, estimated to cost €280m extra per year, included the Minister for Social Protection, the National Women’s Council of Ireland and the British children’s charity Barnardos.
In a new document, these groups have called for the “Scandinavian” model of universal publicly funded childcare for children 0-12 as a “reform of One Parent Family Payment.” They said that this will support children’s “well-being and development,” reduce child poverty, support “women’s labour market participation” and “gender equality in caring roles.”
Nora Bennis of the Mothers Alliance, commented on where the €2 billion budget for the project is coming from. “It appears that all child benefits and allowances paid to parents will be taken from parents and transferred to bodies like Barnardos and the National Women’s Council for their new so-called ‘prioritizing childcare’ projects,” she said.
Parents who do not work and put their children into professional childcare, Bennis said, “will get no child benefit or allowances whatsoever.”
“This is the Scandinavian model that has destroyed so many children psychologically, emotionally and spiritually for decades in Sweden,” she said. “Is this what we want for our children?”
Sweden invariably receives top marks from international child-protection groups like UNICEF, especially for its government-funded day care. But parents’ rights groups and Christian organisations have warned that the country is among the worst places to raise a child in terms of parental rights and freedoms.
The Home School Legal Defence Association has identified Sweden, along with Germany, as the most oppressive countries in the world for parents wanting to raise children without the interference of the state.
HSLDA Director of International Relations Michael Donnelly said, “The situation in Sweden went from bad to worse after the new education law passed in June 2010, and dozens of families have fled in the past two years. We call upon Swedish officials to recognize the right of parents to direct the education of their children, explicitly protected in fundamental human rights documents.”