Cameron calls for tax breaks for parents

Working parents should be able to claim tax relief to help with their caring responsibilities, according to Conservative leader David Cameron.

In a speech on family life to the National Family and Parenting Institute yesterday (Tuesday), Cameron said that the government had a duty to make childcare affordable and to simplify the system of child care tax credits.

Cameron said that the government’s tax credit system was “top-down, complicated and restricted”.

“Sadly, our childcare costs are now among the highest in Europe,” he said. “Gordon Brown’s solution is the childcare tax credit. This is symptomatic of a top-down approach. The credit is complicated for parents to claim, it can’t be spent on informal care, like that provided by friends and relatives, and its eligibility is restricted.

“In the short term, the existing tax credit system should be extended to cover all forms of childcare, and not just the least well-off families,” Cameron said. “Our policy review is looking at ways of making the support provided by the childcare tax credit simpler and much more user-friendly. Making sure that working parents get the money irrespective of the childcare they use is one simple way of improving the current system.”

He said that in the long term he would introduce a tax break that would benefit all working families.

“We must look at the fact that a working man can get tax relief on his mobile phone bill, but a working woman can’t get tax relief for someone who looks after her child,” Cameron said. “Tax relief on childcare for working parents would end this anomaly, and our policy review is investigating this.”

Personnel Today is backing a campaign to introduce tax breaks for carers. Under the proposals, tax breaks would enable employers to offer a voucher for employees who care for a dependant, similar to those available for childcare.

We want you to show your support for the campaign by signing our petition and call on the government to commit to the scheme in its next spending review, scheduled for mid 2007.

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