Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The need for flexible working, career breaks and re-training programmes

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

We believe that individual circumstances dictate whether a woman return to paid employment and a mother’s decision should always be respected.

We believe that employers should be encouraged to provide longer career breaks, re-training and part-time employment, so that more mothers can have a choice to return to paid employment when their children are older. Mothers would then be enabled to work around their children’s need rather than their children being fitted in around their mother’s employers needs.

We believe that these solutions would offer a more positive and enlightened solution for “working” mothers than the quest for more pre-school and after-school childcare.

Lack of community-based support for mothers at home

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Many mothers/fathers who would like to work at home with their children, feel daunted at the prospect of caring for their children and running a house seven days a week. They need to be supported in practical ways in order to be happy and fulfilled in their full-time parenting role.

Parents need opportunities to build confidence in their parenting skills and have personnel available to answer and discuss problems they may be facing with them. Community-based support systems need to be put in place to help parents be the best parents that they can be, so that they and their children live in a positive and encouraging environment.

A Tale of Two Tax Families

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Anna Lines – Chair, FTM

Since its foundation FTM has pointed out a blatant tax anomaly between double and single earner families. This is important, because taxation is one of the foundation stones of the framework set up by Government that guides us in our behaviour. Its current tax policy clearly encourages both parents to be in paid employment at a time in their lives when this is least compatible with their children’s needs, and does so at the expense of the traditional breadwinner family.

This tax year’s Personal Allowance (the amount of money that you are allowed to earn that cannot be taxed) is £4,745. That is regardless of whether the earner is a single man living at home with his parents or a husband and father who is a sole provider. Clearly, for tax purposes alone it is to our advantage to be part of a double-earner unit. As we are all taxed as individuals, a double earner couple (whose resources are pooled at home) enjoys 2 x the Personal Allowance (hereinafter called the PA) = 2 x £4,745 = £9,490. Today’s basic rate income tax is 22%.

Example:
2 earner couple with 2 children, combined income £30,000 p.a. net income £25,691
1 earner couple with 2 children, sole income £30,000 p.a. net income £23,884
Difference: £1,807.

2 earner couple with 2 children, combined income £70,000 p.a. net income £50,114
1 earner couple with 2 children, sole income £70,000 p.a. net income £46,441
Difference £3,673

At more substantial levels of income the gap between the two families widens. This is because the higher rate tax band starts at £31,400. Add to this the PA of £4,745 and this means that of any money earned beyond £36,145, forty per cent will be taken in taxation. However, where there are two earners there are not only 2 PA’s. There are also two bands of lower and basic rate tax. As long as neither earner touches more than £36,145 p.a. gross neither will be affected by higher rate tax. Thus, in theory it would be possible for such a family to earn 2 x £36,145 = £ 72,290 without being affected by higher rate taxation. Looked at in such a way the distinction between “rich” and “poor” families becomes blurred! Assuming that the same two couples above now enjoy a family income of £70,00 p.a., the tax difference between them (to the disadvantage of the 1-earner family) stands at £3,673.

The above figures were prepared by KMPG Tax Advisers and published by the Times on 19/03/04. They do not include working families’ tax credit.

The way to abolish this tax anomaly at a stroke is simple and two-fold. The first step would be to allow an unused PA to be transferred to the family’s earner. The second step would be to split the income of a sole earner family in two separate halves for tax purposes and then to subject it to the same fiscal rules as that of the double earner family. Leaving out NI contributions, our two families’ tax bills would now become the same.

Taxation and Benefits

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

The UK tax system ignores mothers working at home. No allowance is made for two adults in a single-income family. The mother or father who stays at home with their children is treated as either a liability or a luxury.

The tax system discriminates against the one-earner family since it pays proportionately more tax than a double-income family. We believe that transferable personal allowances should be introduced. The un-used personal allowance of the parent at home would then be transferred to the earning spouse. The family’s income would then increase thus allowing the non-earner to contribute financially to the family without having to leave the children.

We are in favour of child benefit remaining untaxed and being paid to the mother.

The present Government has made welcome increases in Child Benefit and has introduced a Child Tax Credit worth £545 pa for all families earning less than £58,000 pa (although these measures have been funded in part by the abolition of the Married Couples’ Allowance).

However, the Government has also widened the gap between two-earner families and those with a parent at home. Families using registered daycare can receive up to £7,000 pa towards the cost of that care (the childcare element of the new Working Tax Credit). Families where one parent looks after the children cannot claim, despite the fact that they have sacrificed earnings in order to provide that care.

Mothers who work at home are not considered to need help with childcare costs, despite the fact that their childcare costs are equal to the amount of their forfeited salary/wage. This is unfair and needs to be addressed.

Click here for ‘A tale of two tax families’.

Key Issues

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Taxation and Benefits, the lack of community-based support for mothers at home and the need for flexible working, career breaks and re-training programmes are all key issues:

Taxation and BenefitsLack of SupportWorking practices

Once upon a time there was such a thing as child tax allowances. At their most generous, in the late fifties, 107% of the Personal Allowance was deductible in respect of a 17 year old who was still at school. The view then was that teenagers bring the greatest costs. Whether or not a mother earned as well was not an issue. A family was a single tax unit and a child was considered a dependant.

Let’s move to the seventies. “Child tax allowances are wrong, because they benefit men”, was the rallying cry. And so they were withdrawn and mothers could collect a fistful of fivers from the Post Office (and then the government soon said that a rise “could not be afforded”). And there were whispers that “they were not really necessary any more because so many mothers worked”.

And now the 1980s. With the family still being one taxable unit and there being more and more double-earner couples, a lot of couples began to pay higher rate taxation as soon as mother added her pay to the total. And so it was that in 1986 spouses now became separate fiscal units with each of them enjoying a personal tax allowance and many of them being taken out of higher rate taxation.

Pity about the one-earner couples. Like everybody else, they lost their Married Couple’s Allowance (which dated back to a time when it was unthinkable for a married woman to earn) and so the mother at home became invisible, neither seen as employed nor registered as unemployed nor made an allowance for in fiscal matters.

Frequently-asked questions

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

What is a Full Time Mother?

Our definition of a FTM centres around the idea of a mother who sees it as her personal duty and responsibility to organise her time around her children’s emotional and physical needs.

Is FTM anti “working-mothers”?

Personal circumstances dictate whether a mother feels it necessary to return to paid employment, and that choice should always be respected.

A child’s needs change over time and so does the amount of time a mother needs to be physically there for him/her. As a result, mothers should have the choice and opportunity to return to paid employment in an environment that respects and supports the work they are involved with in the home. We believe that employers and employment policies should facilitate the demands of being a fully engaged mother.

We do not believe that a mother should be forced as a result of strapped economic circumstances to return to paid employment

Why does FTM focus only on the negative effects of non-parental childcare?

Successive British governments have funded solely non-parental childcare. We therefore highlight a side of the argument that, apparently, is not getting through to people who spend our taxes for us.

We are certainly not saying that all non-parental child care at all times is wrong.

‘Isn’t it better for two parents to work so that children don’t have to live off benefits and in poverty?’

There are different types of poverty – relational as well as economic. Children often suffer when parents are too busy to look after them or too distracted by the pressures of managing two jobs and a home.

Families are often kept in poverty by the burden of taxation and should be allowed to keep more of their earned income in the first place, in recognition of the added costs of raising children. Income splitting would help enormously, as would an increase in child benefit rates.

Pensions should also take account of the number of years that a parent has spent ‘caring’ whilst forfeiting a much needed salary in order to do so.

It is as important to prevent families from falling into debt and poverty in the first place, as it is to lift them out of poverty.

Is FTM anti-Feminism?

We believe that if Feminism is truly about Women’s Liberation, women should also be at liberty to be mothers and full-time mothers if they so choose. That choice, however, is a hollow one if it is not practically supported through mother-friendly employment policy, taxation/benefits policy, social policy, and other women.

Does FTM support the idea of Full Time Dads?

Yes! We are delighted when dads think highly enough of their children to want to take responsibility for their daily routine and to be there for them during the highs and lows of their children’s day. FTDs are very welcome as members.

Why isn’t FTM called Full-Time Parents?

We have deliberately chosen Full Time Mothers as our name, not in an effort to exclude, but to draw attention to the large number of women who are engaged and want to be engaged in the traditional role of bringing up children, but who are frequently socially isolated and politically ignored in today’s society.

Final thought:

Social patterns have changed but the needs of children have not. A child does not have a choice over its birth. S/he will always crave and need the consistent love and attention of his/her mother (although we recognise that her role may sometimes be filled by another close family member).

In an increasingly material and competitive world, we need to support those women who are courageous enough to take the financially difficult choice to work in the home in order to provide their children with a stable emotional foundation. As a society we need to remove the insecurity surrounding that choice, so that more women feel secure and fulfilled in taking it.

Full Time Mothers is working for a better, more stable society and future. As an organisation we are trying to turn the clock forward concerning the way in which full-time mothers are regarded and treated in the dawn of a new millennium.

Children are our future.

Local Groups

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

These are for members of FTM – so do join.

How to start

If there is not a group in your area you may like to consider starting one. Here are some ideas as to how to go about this:

1. Posters: There is a very attractive FTM poster available, 14.5cm X 21cm, on which you can enter your own phone number, next to the FTM national address. These could be put up in the local doctor’s surgery, baby clinic, library etc. Email us for some.

2. Start with people you know already. Invite a few local friends for coffee or afternoon tea, and tell them about FTM. Have copies of the leaflet and back copies of the newsletter for people to take and consider. You could have a brief discussion on a pre-arranged topic (see below). Then suggest that your gatherings become a regular event and ask if those who are interested could each bring one new person to the next event.

Ask people to put up the small posters with their or your phone number, adding that there is now a local group to which anyone is welcome.

What to do

POSSIBLE DISCUSSION TOPICS

‘Why does a child need a committed mother?’
‘What qualities are brought out of us by being mothers?’
‘Are we confident in our stature as FTMs? What are our talents?’
‘What are the mother’s and father’s role in a family?’
‘How can we strike a balance between love and discipline for a child?’
‘Raising boys and girls: what are we aiming for?’
‘How can we best support a child at school?’
‘How can be make the views of mums at home heard?’
‘Why does society undervalue motherhood?’
‘What place does feminism have in motherhood?’
‘What do we think about extended schools and wrap-around care?’

CAMPAIGNING

A local group can be very effective in campaigning. Together, or individually, you could compose a letter to local MPs, local press or national press on any of the FTM topics such as a child’s need, a mother’s role, the unhelpful tax situation for one-earner families and so on.

Join Us

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

So you’re thinking of joining? That’s great! Here are just some of the benefits of being an FTM member:

  • You will receive a regular newsletter through the post.
  • You will receive details of our annual Open Meeting (usually held in November) which includes a talk and lunch. The meeting is held in London (as are Committee meetings.)
  • It may also be possible to start a local group to meet other members in your area, wherever you live.
  • You can support, and be supported by, an organisation with a diverse membership but a common aim – to allow mothers the choice to look after their own children when they feel it is necessary.

The annual membership fee is £10, but there is a concessionary rate for people in families where no-one is in paid employment.