The Prime Minister will be jetting off to Camp David today for the G8
summit — and his first meeting with new French President Francois Hollande. But before going, he’s been popping up on the morning show sofas to promote the government’s new initiatives to help parents. A new digital service will allow parents to sign up to receive tips
on looking after their baby via emails and text messages. The government will also offer vouchers for £100-worth of parenting classes to all parents of under-fives, although at first this
will just be in trial form.
Announcing the schemes in Manchester yesterday, David Cameron pre-empted the attack that these are ‘nanny state’ policies. He said:
‘This is not the nanny state — it’s the sensible state.
It’s ludicrous that we should expect people to train for hours to drive a car or use a computer, but when it comes to looking after a baby we tell people to just get on with it.’
And he also defended himself against the inevitable claims that the government has bigger, more economy-shaped issues to be dealing with:
‘And to those who say that Government should forget about parenting and families and focus on the big, gritty issues, I’d say these are the big, gritty issues. Families don’t just shape
us as individuals, they make a stronger society. That’s why supporting families is right at the top of our agenda — and I’m going to make sure it stays that way.’
The PM also reiterated his support for introducing tax breaks for parents employing nannies or childminders:
‘I’m hugely attracted to the idea of making childcare tax-allowable… It seems so odd that you make other things tax-allowable but not this thing that can help people be able to get
back to work.’
As James said back in February, we shouldn’t be surprised if this forms a
key part of the Tory manifesto come 2015.