Clause 35 — Reduction in childcare relief for higher earners
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Diane Abbott (Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Labour)
That is an important intervention. This is a Government who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Had they been willing to continue both halves of our policy—taking away tax relief for higher-income taxpayers and extending child care to two-year-olds for low-income families—in the long run, they would realise a cash benefit. I know from my own constituency that the earlier we can make an impact on people, the earlier we can give families support with properly funded child care, the sooner we can save the state money on education and a range of social issues. As I said, these are people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Clause 35 is the shell of something that the outgoing Labour Government introduced, but it lacks the counterbalancing measures that we were going to introduce. It reflects a Government who do not understand that families are struggling in the current climate, and who do not understand the significance of those tax and welfare arrangements for women. They will pay a price for that lack of understanding in the local elections tomorrow, as middle England looks on the Conservative-led coalition and says, not that this is the most family-friendly Government ever but that this is the most middle-income-family-hostile Conservative-led Government ever.