British grandparents are making a bid to be paid for looking after their grandchildren while the parents go to work. One in four of all families, and half of single parents, rely on grandparents to provide childcare each week. The value of their work is estimated at £3.9 billion a year. A poll by the Grandparents Plus charity has found that 60 per cent of parents support some form of payment for grandparent child minders — but only if the government pays them, it seems.
Grandparents Plus is calling for the government to allow grandparents to receive the child care tax credit, currently worth up to £300 a week, if they are helping parents return to work. Only parents using nurseries and registered child minders can claim the benefit under existing rules. Government is not keen, but it says it will explore other ways to help. Grandparents Plus is also calling for “granny leave” for working grandparents when a child is born, and flexible working hours.
Of course, if the authorities were to relent and pay grandparents, wouldn’t it make sense for mothers to look after their own children when they are small, and be paid for it — an option they have in some Scandinavian countries. ~ Times Online, March 25