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Comments Off on Nurseries close as recession-hit parents struggle to pay rising fees

Nurseries close as recession-hit parents struggle to pay rising fees

| Early years education, Finance, Money matters, Pre-schoolers | 14 May 2010

Source: Independent >> Read full article and comment
By Sarah Cassidy, Social Affairs Correspondent
Friday, 14 May 2010

Nursery fees have increased at double the rate of inflation although many parents face pay freezes, reduced working hours, and unemployment because of the recession, according to the latest financial research into childcare.

Last year fees rose by an average of 4 per cent, roughly double the rate of inflation for 2009, according to Laing and Buisson’s Nursery Sector Report. The increase has had a marked effect on the number of children attending nurseries which dropped by 4 per cent during 2009, with the recession and rising unemployment leading families to scale back their childcare costs.

The research also found nurseries had been forced out of business because of the recession and more than one in five places lay vacant in 2009 as parents withdrew their children to save money.

This sharp rise in nursery charges followed five years of below-inflation increases, the report found. The increase is thought to have been fuelled by increased staff costs caused by Government reforms aimed at improving nursery workers’ qualifications. … Continue reading

Comments Off on Couples ‘up to £200 a MONTH worse off than single mothers’

Couples ‘up to £200 a MONTH worse off than single mothers’

| Finance, One Parent families | 29 April 2010

Source: >> Daily Mail >> Read full article and comment

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 6:14 PM on 29th April 2010

Most people would get more benefits if they were single rather than part of a couple, a report claimed today.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said around 68 per cent of people would get greater financial support through tax credits and benefits if they were single, or claimed they were, compared with if they were married or living with a partner.

The group said ‘couple penalties’ in the tax and benefit system arose because much state support was means-tested against the joint incomes of a couple, rather than just an individual’s income.

It said the problem could be reduced by increasing benefits and tax credits for couples, or reducing them for single people, but it added that it would be almost impossible to eliminate the issue altogether.

The IFS estimated that the average couple would receive around £45 a week more in state aid if they were single, although one in 10 people would be at least 20 per cent better off.

But it added that the study failed to take into account the fact that people who lived together shared the cost of running a home.

The research found that couple penalties are mostly caused by income support, jobseeker’s allowance, the pension credit and child tax credits.

It said the main cause of the problem was that people who would be entitled to certain benefits if they were single were not entitled to as much – and in some cases not entitled to anything – if they lived with a partner who had an income. … Continue Reading

Comments Off on Getting rid of baby bonds helps no one

Getting rid of baby bonds helps no one

| Finance, Money matters | 12 April 2010

Source: Telegraph >> Read full article and comment

This month marks the fifth anniversary of Child Trust Funds. But it could be their last birthday for many parents.

The profit motive has a place in the classroom

| At School, Finance, Schools | 2 April 2010

Source: Timesonline >> Read full article and comment

If businesses can help more children to learn we should let them make money – and hire and fire teachers

During a particularly fractious debate about schools reform, a Gordon person once said to a Tony person: “Delivering an education isn’t like delivering a pizza, you know.” “Ah no, it’s not,” replied the Tony person, sagely, “but it might be rather like making one.”

Actually, education isn’t remotely like either making or delivering a pizza. You could go so far as to say that education has got nothing to do with pizzas at all. The exchange does, all the same, contain two insights into education policy, one about the past, the other about the future.

What a tragedy that two intelligent people could have such a stupid conversation in public. This is the standard of argument you get when the two principals, for whom the pizza warriors were agents, are having an altogether more fundamental fight — a fight for control.

I was thinking of the pizzas during Tony Blair’s deft critique of the Tories at Trimdon Labour Club. It was a clever speech; whoever writes his stuff these days is a lot better than the last guy. But to hear Mr Blair heap praise on Gordon Brown was deeply frustrating for anyone who wishes their party well. As Mr Blair left the stage in Sedgefield, it was impossible not to recall the moment he shared an ice cream with Mr Brown during the 2005 campaign and wonder how much more might have been done, if only the pair of them had managed to make their extraordinary, and complementary, talents point in the same direction.

They might have averted the charge that their progress was bought at too great a price. They might have had a leaner State that bought more services and ran fewer. They might have built a system in which improvement was organic and therefore much more recession-proofed. The three sorriest examples are education, education, education. … Continue reading

Comments Off on Mothercare shares slip as UK sales hit by bad weather

Mothercare shares slip as UK sales hit by bad weather

| Finance, Money matters | 2 April 2010

Source: Guardian >> read full article and comment

Mothercare has blamed the bad weather earlier this year for an unexpectedly sharp drop in UK sales, sending its shares sharply lower.

The mother and baby products retailer said the severe weather meant it extended its winter sale, leaving fourth quarter sales in the UK down 1.6%. But this was offset by a good performance from its international businesses, where sales rose 19.3% in the quarter. For the full year overseas sales topped £1bn for the first time, with 119 stores opened in 29 countries in 2009, including its first presence in Australia.

The company maintains it is well placed, with tight control on costs and new initiatives such as its wholesale partnership with Boots which is due to launch in the autumn. But the market reaction to today’s update has been to mark the company’s shares down 20.5p to 580p. Kate Calvert at Shore Capital said:

Mothercare has reported fourth quarter UK like for like sales down 1.6% which compares to our expectation of up 2.8% and is a surprising fall on the third quarter when it reported sales growth of 4.2% for the 13 weeks to January 9.

… continue reading

Comments Off on Budget 2010 for families: ‘I’m just relieved child credits were not cut’

Budget 2010 for families: ‘I’m just relieved child credits were not cut’

| Finance, Money matters | 30 March 2010

Source: Daily Mail >> Read full article and comment

By STEPHEN WOMACK

Charlotte Bowers and her partner John Craig were disappointed that the Chancellor did not find any fresh cash to help hard-pressed families over the next two years.

John Craig and Charlotte Bowers

Disappointment: John Craig and Charlotte Bowers must count every penny to provide for their children

The couple, from Oldham, have three children, Savannah, 9, Sofia, 3, and ten-month-old Cooper. They rely on tax credits and child benefit to help make ends meet. At present, they get £17 a week in child tax credit and £11 a week in working tax credit.

Charlotte says: ‘This support is vital to help us get through the month. Every penny is accounted for to pay the mortgage and help us run the car.’

John, 30, is an accounts manager for a power tool distributor while Charlotte, also 30, works weekends as an assistant in an Ann Summers shop.

The Chancellor did announce a £4 a week rise in the child tax credit for children aged under two, but this will not take effect until April 2012 so it will not help the couple. Charlotte says: ‘I’m just relieved they didn’t cut back on the existing tax credits because of the state of the economy.’….Continue reading

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Comments Off on Optimistic teenagers expect to earn £51,000

Optimistic teenagers expect to earn £51,000

| Finance, Teenagers, Tweens and Teens | 30 March 2010

Source: Guardian >> Read full article and comment

By Gemma Kappala-Ramsamy

Teenagers expect to own their own house by their mid-20s and to earn more than £50,000 by their mid-30s, a survey by NatWest finds

Teenagers shopping

Teenagers say they have become better at managing their money since the recession. Photograph: Getty Images/Peter Cade

Teenagers think they will earn more than £50,000 a year by the time they reach 35, and will be able to afford a house by their mid-20s, a survey of 10,000 young people revealed today.

The research, carried out by high street bank NatWest, also found that teenagers thought they would run up just £10,000 of student debt by the time they graduate.

However, many said they had started to think carefully about what they did with their cash, with two-thirds saying they felt the recession has improved their money management skills.

The bank’s annual survey of 12- to 19-year-olds found that many of them have sunny expectations for the financial future despite the troubled economic climate.

Among those questioned, the average expected salary by age 35 was £51,000. The most optimistic teenagers were in London. On average they thought they would be earning £63,227 a year by the time they were 35. This is more than double the average salary of people in their thirties, which is £28,933.

Young people in the East Midlands were the most down-to-earth of those surveyed, expecting an annual salary of £33,468 by the time they reached their mid-thirties. However, even this figure is still around £4,000 higher than the average…..Continue reading

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Comments Off on Sure Start cuts would be disastrous, MPs warn

Sure Start cuts would be disastrous, MPs warn

| Finance, Money matters | 29 March 2010

Source: BBC News >> Read full article and comment

Cutting funds for a network of children’s centres across England would be disastrous, MPs have said.

Children in sandpit

The MPs say the centres have done “pioneering work”

The Commons’ Children, Schools and Families Committee says the Sure Start scheme is doing pioneering work which should be allowed to bear fruit.

But it criticised a lack of data on its effectiveness and value for money.

There is cross-party support for the scheme, but Labour wants to find efficiency savings, and the Tories want to re-focus on the poorest families.

Sure Start centres offer a range of services to families with young children, including help for parents wanting to find work, childcare, healthcare and family support.

The first centres opened in 2004 and there are now 3,500. The government says there is one in “every community in England”.

‘Pioneering work’

The MPs say it would be a mistake to yield to short-term financial pressure by reducing the number of centres or pruning the range of services they offer.

The entire Sure Start programme was established in 1997, but most of the actual centres have been in place for less than four years.

The committee’s chairman, Labour MP Barry Sheerman, said: “To put at risk the pioneering work of the last 12 years would be nothing short of a disaster…..Continue reading

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Comments Off on National Lottery operator Camelot sold to Canadian teachers’ pension fund

National Lottery operator Camelot sold to Canadian teachers’ pension fund

| Finance, Money matters | 27 March 2010

Source: Telegraph >> Read full article and comment

National Lottery operator Camelot is to be sold to a pension fund which looks after the interests of 289,000 Canadian teachers.

National Lottery operator Camelot sold to Canadian teachers' pension fund

National Lottery operator Camelot sold to Canadian teachers’ pension fund Photo: PA

The sale to the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (Teachers’), for approximately £389m, will need the approval of the National Lottery Commission, Camelot’s regulator.

The Commission announced the start of its assessment process, which could take up to three months, immediately after Camelot broke news of the sale last night.

Dianne Thompson, Camelot chief executive, said: “We welcome Teachers’ commitment to The National Lottery’s ongoing success, and look forward to the opportunity of working with them to continue our progress in developing the business and delivering even more money for the good causes.”

The pension fund, which has offices in London, Toronto, and New York, is an independent organisation responsible for investing the fund and administering the pensions of 289,000 active and retired teachers in Ontario.

Teachers’ said it has a successful history of direct investments in UK companies, including Acorn Care and Education, Bristol International Airport, Birmingham Airport, Scotia Gas Networks, InterGen and Thomas More Square Estate…. Continue reading

Comments Off on Families: Inheritance tax freeze puts squeeze on the family purse

Families: Inheritance tax freeze puts squeeze on the family purse

| family, Finance, Money matters | 25 March 2010

Source: Independent >> Read full article and comment

By Simon Read

The Chancellor highlighted his help for families in yesterday’s Budget, but few will end up better off as a result of the changes.

In fact, a new freeze on inheritance tax increases could end up costing some families a lot more than they may make through the more popular moves such as increasing tax credits and the stamp duty holiday…..Continue reading

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