The Tories are trying to axe a vital childcare scheme which around 10,000 military personnel rely on to be able to serve their country.
Thousands of front line servicemen and women could be worse off if the government wins a crunch Commons vote on Tuesday.
Ministers also admitted that a further 2,500 civilian support staff benefit from the Ministry of Defence scheme.
The salary sacrifice scheme allows the MoD to deduct childcare costs before tax, potentially saving low-paid personnel thousands of pounds a year for childcare.
Along with other ‘childcare vouchers’, it is due to be abolished by the government as they roll out ‘tax-free childcare’ instead.
For many working parents, the new scheme is less generous and it has been plagued by teething problems that led it to miss the government’s take-up target by 90%, and under-spend by nearly £800m.
After this April, anyone joining the armed forces or moving between different military employers will no longer be able to benefit from the scheme and will be forced to rely on tax-free childcare instead.
The government’s public sector pay cap has already seen a soldier’s pay decline by around £1,000 a year in real terms since 2010.
The Childcare Vouchers Providers Association calculate that a military family of two parents on an average soldiers’ salary would be £456 worse off a year under tax-free childcare.
Industry experts and campaigners have called on Ministers to leave the scheme open, with more than a hundred thousand people signing a petition.
Labour’s Stephanie Peacock MP, who found out the figures beneitting from the scheme in a parliamentary question, said: “Our armed forces are now the latest to pay the price for the Tories’ childcare shambles. When servicemen and women have had their pay cut in real terms year on year thanks to Tory cuts, the last thing they should be doing is landing them with higher bills for childcare on top.”
Labour’s shadow early years minister Tracy Brabin MP said: “It should be obvious that armed forces personnel deserve proper support with childcare given the job they do.
“Unfortunately, the government is failing badly, with their so-called free care offer falling short and a huge under-spend on childcare this year.
“Tuesday’s vote is the chance for MPs to have their say, and protect the childcare that working parents rely on across the country. With no majority in parliament for this, I hope that Ministers will finally take the chance to think again.”
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Source : http://www.newsdump.co.uk/news/tories-are-trying-to-axe-a-vital-childcare-scheme-that-10000-troops-rely-on
Source : https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/tories-trying-axe-vital-childcare-12175936