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…..