02/03

14 January  2003

LARGEST FINANCIAL BOOST FOR MOTHERS SINCE CHILD BENEFIT, SAYS BROWN

NEW POLL SHOWS MONEY SHOULD GO TO MOTHERS

A massive transfer of resources – up to £2 billion – will go from men to women through the new Tax Credits from April this year, said Chancellor Gordon Brown today, as a new poll shows that two-thirds of people believe that all support for children should be paid to the mother, and only one per cent think it should be paid to the father.

Even the vast majority of men believe all support for children should be paid to the mother: 64 per cent believed that it should be paid to the mother and only 1 per cent that it should go to the father.

70 per cent of all those polled said that the mother is most likely to ensure that the money goes to the needs of the children. While 28 per cent said it made no difference which parent received the money, only two per cent said fathers would be most likely to ensure that the money goes to the needs of the children.

Mr Brown and Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt also published wide ranging proposals to help parents balance work and family life.

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Chancellor Gordon Brown said:

“April’s new Tax Credits are the biggest financial boost for mothers since the introduction of Child Benefit, and evidence shows that money paid direct to mothers is more likely to be spent on the child, than if it goes to fathers. Up to £2 billion will be transferred from dads, to mums – for their children.

“We want to put families first by helping parents as they do the most important and difficult job of all – getting their children off to a good start in life.”

Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt said:

“The new package of rights we are bringing in next April will give parents more choice and support than ever before to balance work and family life in ways which will be good for everyone – employers, employees and their children. The ‘right to request’ will help deliver modern, flexible, productive workplaces for all, with balanced benefits for both employers and employees.”

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Mr Brown and Patricia Hewitt launched Balancing Work and Family Life: enhancing choice and support for parents which looks to enable parents to make choices and balance work and family life and asks for views on possible next steps including:

  • following consultation on the home childcarers scheme, how to widen entry into the scheme to include people who are not already childminders;
  • improving the tax and NICs exemptions on employer-supported childcare, including how they could offer a better incentive to employers to support childcare provision;
  • whether to allow fathers time off to attend ante-natal care and the case for extending paid paternity leave in cases of multiple births and disabled children; and
  • the case for allowing a mother on paid maternity leave to claim support with the childcare costs for her new child in order to settle her child into childcare prior to returning to work.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

The Government’s strategy for helping mothers and fathers to meet their responsibilities as parents includes:

  • Supporting parents’ choices to balance work and family life;
  • tailoring financial support to families’ circumstances;
  • enhancing access to good quality childcare and parenting services; and
  • working in partnership with business to promote the benefits of flexible working and support the take up of best practice approaches.

From April 2003 parents will have more support and more choice to help balance their work and family than ever before. The new tax credits, changes to maternity, paternity and adoption leave provision, and the new right to request flexible working, are complemented by the Government’s more than doubling of investment in good quality childcare. This was announced as part of the 2002 Spending Review, and is matched by the reform of central and local delivery structures to meet the needs of children and their parents.

Tax and National Insurance Contributions on Employer Supported Childcare
In the PBR the Chancellor announced that the Government would consider further reforms to build on the Government’s childcare strategy, including a commitment to consider new tax and National Insurance incentives to expand employer supported childcare.

Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit
The Child Tax Credit will be a single, seamless system of support for families with children, paid directly to the main carer in a family.  The Working Tax Credit will be paid through the wage packet to working people without children as well as families with children.  For more information on the new tax credits, contact the Inland Revenue Press Office on the number provided below. A national television campaign is currently running to encourage claimants to apply.

New Tax Credits Response Line - 0800 500 222

  • for people to check their eligibility and/or to get a claim form
  • open from 7am to 11pm 7 days a week

New Tax Credits Helpline - 0845 300 3900 (England, Scotland and Wales) and 0845 603 2000 (Northern Ireland)

  • the specialist helpline for detailed information about tax credits
  • open from 8am to 8pm 7 days a week

The New Tax Credits Website is available at www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk/taxcredits

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Home Childcarers Scheme
Budget 2002 announced that, from April 2003, eligibility for the childcare element of the Working Tax Credit will include those who use approved childcare in their own home, aimed at those families who would benefit from home-based care, such as those with disabled children or parents who work outside conventional hours.  The Government will start by opening the home childcarers scheme to existing childminders.  Following consultation on the scheme, the Government is considering how to widen it to include people who are not already childminders.  This would further extend choice and support for those families who need home-based care, and increase the supply of childcare.

The Department of Health will be introducing a scheme to cover childcare provided by domiciliary workers and nurses’ agencies.  The Department for Education and Skills is also considering schemes to cover childcare provided in schools, and for children over the age of seven.  For more information about the home childcarers scheme, contact the Department for Education and Skills press office on the number provided below.

Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Leave and Right to Request Flexible Working
The Government is already committed to reviewing the duty to consider requests for flexible working in three years time.

For more information about changes to maternity, paternity and adoption leave, and on the right to request flexible working, contact the Department of Trade and Industry press office on the number provided below.

Balancing Work and Family Life: enhancing choice and support for parents is available on this web site.

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HM TREASURY PRESS OFFICE

Press enquiries:  020 7270 5238

Non-media enquiries: 020 7270 4558

INLAND REVENUE PRESS OFFICE

Press enquiries:  020 7438 6692 / 6706 / 7327
    (out of hours: 07860 359544)

Non-media enquiries: 020 7944 3000
    (office hours only)

DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY PRESS OFFICE

Press enquiries:  020 7215 5000
(out of hours: 020 7215 3234/ 3505)

Non-media enquiries: 020 7215 5000

DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION AND SKILLS

Press enquiries:  020 7925 6789
    (out of hours: 07659 105993)

Non-media enquiries: 020 7925 5000

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ANNEX

GIVE MONEY TO THE MUMS – NEW POLL RESULTS SHOW

Two-thirds of people believe that all support for children should be paid to the mother, and only one per cent think it should be paid to the father, a new opinion poll published today shows.

Even the vast majority of men believe all support for children should be paid to the mother: 64 per cent believed that it should be paid to the mother and only 1 per cent that it should go to the father.

70 per cent of those polled said that the mother is most likely to ensure that the money goes to the needs of the children. While 28 per cent said it made no difference which parent received the money, only two per cent said fathers would be most likely to ensure that the money goes to the needs of the children.

57% of people believed that women were better at looking after day-to-day household finances, while only 22% said that men were better at looking after household finances.  Women take primary responsibility for day-to day finances within the household. 51% of women compared to 33% of men are mainly responsible for the household finances and 16% said it makes no difference.

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EXPLANATORY NOTES

1) Q1 and Q2 ICM Research interviewed a random selection of 1001 adults aged 18+, by telephone between 8-9 January 2003

2) Q3 and Q4 ICM Research interviewed a random selection of 1000 adults aged 18+, by telephone between 10-12 January 2003.

Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.

Data is based on those expressing an opinion

The results of the poll were as follows:

Q1.  Do you believe children’s benefits such as Child Benefit and Child Tax Credits should be paid to:

 The mother (or female guardian) of the child or children  65%
 The father (or male guardian) of the child or children  1%

 34% said it made no difference

Q2.  Who is most likely to ensure children’s benefits such as Child Benefit or Child Tax Credits go directly to the needs of the child or children?

The mother (or female guardian) of the child or children  70%
The father (or male guardian) of the child or children  2%

 28% said it made no difference

Q3.  In your opinion, who is better at looking after day-to-day household finances?

 57% said Women
 22% said Men
 
 21% said it made no difference

Q4.In your household, who mainly looks after the day-to-day household finances?

 51% said the Woman
 33% said the Man

 16% said the task was shared equally

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Press notices index 2003 January to June