Voucher scheme must be a priority

17th June 2005 at 01:00
I am appealing to readers for support in galvanising action by local councils to set up childcare voucher schemes that would benefit hundreds of people.

I am a secondary maths teacher employed by Nottinghamshire County Council, at Toot Hill school, in Bingham. I recently returned to full-time work after maternity leave and am entitled to relief from national insurance contributions and tax on the first pound;217 of my monthly childcare costs. But, as the council has no voucher scheme, I must endure a substantial loss of earnings. The same applies to all parents working for this council who have children in paid childcare.

When we face teacher shortages, I find this inefficiency in policy counter-productive, and with the Government promoting the importance of improving access to affordable, quality childcare to encourage parents to return to work, this council's position is untenable.

I appeal to your readers to highlight this issue and apply pressure on local education authorities for a rapid resolution. With our encouragement, I hope local councils will put the matter of childcare vouchers much higher on their list of priorities.

Lenka Nagle West Bridgford Nottingham

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