Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

So all parents should move to Scotland then?

Two of the biggest costs a parent will incur before their child (hopefully) leaves home and becomes financially independent are childcare and university fees. As a parent to 2 very small children In England I have to say I find this thought more than a little worrying. But strangely the solution may be to move to Scotland.

Let me explain.

Childcare costs in the UK are at a record high, during the summer holiday the cost of a weeks childcare rose about £100 for the first time and has been increasing at 3 times the rate of inflation. For many people now the cost of childcare is at a level that one of the parents becoming a stay at home parent is the only logical decision. Going to work can actually cost you money once you factor in childcare.

The rise in tuition fees has of course been well documented; I graduated in 2005 and at that point was paying £1,500 a year in fees. I came out of university with sizeable debt but debt that I managed to pay off within 5 years of graduating. Students graduating in a few years time are unlikely to be so lucky. The maximum fees a university can charge is now £9,000 a year, that’s a scary level especially given the huge variation in quality of teaching. Graduating with over £30,000 in debt is now a reality and that’s going to take a long time to pay off.

However if you live in Wales or Scotland the reality is somewhat different.

In Wales the Welsh Assembly has pledged that you’ll never pay more than £3,575 a year in fees no matter where in the UK you study and provide a grant to offset any higher fee. That’s a pretty big deal over a 3 year course and potentially cuts your debt on leaving university by two thirds.

Scotland have gone one step further and not even introduced tuition fees for Scottish students studying in Scotland. So in theory you can have 2 students living just a few miles from each other but opposite sides of the border paying very different amounts to attend the same Scottish university.

Not only that in the white paper released this week Alex Salmond set out what an independent Scotland would look like. What caught my eye was a promise of 30 hours of free term time childcare for 3 and 4 year olds. That’s double the benefit provided in England (and Wales I believe) and how will they pay for it? By not funding Trident which if you remember has been one of my arguments for a while.

If David Cameron truly supports families and ‘hard working people’ maybe he should have a good read of the white paper and see what real family friendly policies look like.

So there you have it, as a parent the only logical thing to do here is to move to Scotland and vote for independence. That way you’ll get childcare paid for until your children go to school and you can send them to a Scottish university without paying any fees.

Now all you have to do is save up for the wedding and house deposit…..

 

9 Comments

  1. Apparently the childcare proposal will only come into effect in the second term of office in an independent Scotland (so realistically about 8 years away). Given that full independence probably wouldn’t happen for a good few years after the vote and add on those 8 years and your kids will probably be grown up by then! I live in Scotland and I don’t expect my family will see the benefit of this if Scottish independence goes ahead. The next generation, maybe.

  2. My eldest daughter started university in September and the financial burden terrified me. However she chose to do nursing and under current rules the tuition fees are subsidised by the NHS. She attends a Russell Group university so immediately this saves her 9k per year. She also gets a means tested grant funded by the NHS therefore luckily for her she only needs to pay back her maintenance loan of 2.5k per year.
    I wonder if I can mould my 3 remaining children into physios, nurses etc 🙂

    • It’s definitely something worth considering isn’t it? But thank god the government does fund NHS courses otherwise we’d have no one studying nursing.

  3. Sarah @apartyofseven

    November 27, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    i think we wil be doing this!! lol 🙂

  4. Well, son, now you have it! Bringing up kids gets more complicated once you move beyond the nappy stage. Scotland can be lovely but it can also be wet and cold. However, with a good internet connection you can save fuel that would otherwise be spent on travel by using conference facilities. So, a Scottish city with a good airport and train service could be the answer.
    Tipping Senior

  5. The childcare promise is something that would only come into effect if the SNP win the first election in an independent Scotland, an election which a) doesn’t happen until 2016 and b) they may not win. It is, however, a headline grabber, which they clearly knew when they published the white paper which is in part an early election manifesto. The reality is that the devolved parliament ALREADY has the power to increase state provided childcare but has chosen not to do so. If it’s so important, then why not?

    My guess is that it’s something to dangle in front of undecided voters, although the SNP’s #2 Nicola Sturgeon actually gave a different reason at the white paper launch, that they don’t want the extra tax raised (by enabling more people to work) flowing to the UK treasury. (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/nov/26/scottish-government-publishes-white-paper-on-independence-politics-live-blog – scroll down to 11:52am) On the face of it, that seems like a shocking reason, but actually it makes sense – the Scottish government wouldn’t be spending out of its budget without seeing any of the increased revenue come back in. Still seems rather cynical to me.

    As for tuition fees, and free prescriptions for that matter, it all comes down to how the masters of the purse strings decide to spend what they’ve got, and as we’ve explained to my in-laws a number of times (they’re south of the border) it’s not all milk and honey, and there are other areas where we get less to make up. For example, there’s no 20 week anomaly scan during pregnancy north of the border, something I’m led to believe is standard in the rest of the UK.

    I’m rambling now, so I’ll stop. Suffice to say the only thing in this referendum that’s a hard fact is that politicians are politicians, and they’re experts at twisting numbers to suit whatever tale they want to tell, and telling folk whatever they think will get them most votes. And that’s something that no amount of independence will ever change.

    • yeah agree, never as simple as the promises but at least they are thinking about supporting families (even if there are some less than perfect motives)

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