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Time for Parenting...

...because raising children is a full-time job

Key Issues

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 Benefits; Lack of Support; Working 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 And so they were withdrawn and mothers could collect a fistful of fivers from the Post Office (and then the government soon said that a rise "could not be afforded").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.