Seen this today? Of all the things that bug me - and there are plenty, just ask Other Half about my levels of tolerance for nervous tics - this one really gets under my skin.
To put things into perspective, all three of my children have been in nursery since an early age, on average from around 4 months' old. If you still need to ask why then I will spell it out: I work, I enjoy my job, and I like to be financially independent. Much as I love my children and they remain a priority in my life, I am not - nor ever was - a stay-at-home-mum.
So, nursery it was for all three. A no brainer for both me and Other Half, and they are all well-adjusted, sociable and lovely children. But that is beside the point.
The point is that whilst this government has made endless claims about "
Which means that for the average Joe who works full-time, pays taxes, NI and all the rest, there is a) no further incentive (outside of childcare vouchers, and even then I had to fight tooth and nail to get two former employers to participate in a scheme, despite the fact that it saves them money), and b) no tax break.
So you can claim for a chauffeur but not for childcare, the first being a 'nice-to-have', the latter an imperative in order to work and pay taxes in the first place. And now suddenly they are waking up to the fact that many of us are working merely to pay someone else to look after our kids. Just as well I enjoy my job then.
The best perspective on this? One I have undoubtedly mentioned before. When a former boss asked me what my childcare costs were and I told him, he said "Per term?".
No, you fool. "Per month." And we were talking a number that did not start with 1 or 2 and was followed by three zeros. He was struck dumb.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Gordon Brown.