The Swedish Parents’ group, Föreningen Barnens Rätt Till Föräldrarnas Tid (approximately the Association for the Right of Children to Their Parents) is a sister-organization to Kids First. It is part of the Swedish “parents’ rebellion” that has collected over 50,000 signatures asking for funding for parental child care.
“As of next year we will introduce a childcare allowance for those who look after their children by themselves at home,” the Swedish Minister of Social Affairs announced today. The allowance will be the equivalent of US$ 570 [CAN $670]a month before income tax and can be seen as partial compensation to those parents that do not (want to) utilize the country’s ubiquitous and internationally famed, tax-financed, municipal day care scheme, where the cost per toddler is US$ 1,600 (!) a month [Can$1,880/month $22,560/yr]
According to a poll made by Sweden’s national broadcasting corporation, as many as 1/5 of the country’s toddler parents are interested in making use of this new possibility opening up. No doubt, most parents will see it as a way to extend their tax-funded parental leave period which typically runs for 13 months from child birth.
The initiative can be seen as a result of Föreningen Barnens Rätt Till Föräldrarnas Tid’s and others’ enlightenment and lobbying campaigns over the last few years, so there is cause for celebration.
But this step is only an intermediate one. The Swedish parents’ organization will not rest until their government scraps its outrageously expensive and unfair day-care scheme for a universal childcare allowance with which parents can either stay at home or buy day-care services. Or, even better: reverts to income splitting and tax deductions for dependants and day-care expenses–in combination with the scrapping of all tax subsidies for municipal day care, so that the service is charged out at the cost price that happens to be the norm for public services.
The latter solution would–over time–increase prosperity and paid employment in Sweden by approximately 5%! Not a bad return on a reduction in public spending representing approximately 2% of the country’s GNP!
Director Bo Pettersson writes:
Like a bolt of lightning from a clear-blue sky, the following happened here today: www.barnensratt.se/news-en.htm#070130-brt! An interesting aspect is that the minister involved, in our current, rather fragmented, government, makes this announcement even before his team has compiled the proposition that is going to form the basis for the bill and long before Parliament has passed it!
He must have felt hard-pressed to come up with something early that will pacify the masses! I wonder where that pressure came from 😉
We are celebrating a battle victory only, not yet the winning of the war 😉