Why would you need free childcare if you don't have a job?

I'm not ignorant, I understand that there are multiple reasons why someone may not be working and yet still require free childcare.

That said, I really don't understand the eligibility criteria.

Your 2-year-old can get free early education and childcare if you get one of the following:
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Universal Credit
- tax credits and you have an annual income of under £16,190 before tax
- the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
- support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
- the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

The bit that bothers me the most is income-based jobseekers allowance. If you don't have a job, a disability, someone to care for, why should you be entitled to free childcare for two year olds when there are people in work, struggling to avoid debt in attempt to keep their job and pay for childcare.

It doesn't make sense.

If you claim contribution-based jobseekers allowance then you're not entitled, and yet, are in the same position in that both are meant to be looking for work.

It doesn't make sense.

You'll both need to find someone to look after your kids whilst you attend interviews or maybe courses to further your career. You'll both attend the same meetings at your local job centre. You'll both have bills to pay.

It doesn't make sense.

I don't buy in to the government propaganda about 'scumbags' milking the benefits system for their own gain. The majority of people forced to claim benefits genuinely have no choice, and capping or cutting benefits only serves to harm those in need and actual poverty.

The fault here is not with those claiming benefits and free childcare. It's the system which appears to favour those who do not work over those desperately trying to keep hold of their jobs.

Let's face it, there is little incentive to keep working if, at the end of the day, you'll be financially better off out of work. But I'd like to think that most people, of sound morals, would look beyond their own gain and the pound signs flashing up before their eyes.

Benefits are not that cut and dried and if you're motivated by cash then you have far more earning potential in work. That is how it should be.

So, instead of paying for childcare for people out of work, only to cut it if/when they find a job, surely the money would be better spent towards keeping others in work? Is that not common sense?

For example. I have given up work.

The cost of childcare was more than my salary and we have been struggling financially for some time.

I wanted to keep my job. I enjoy working and felt it was a good balance for my mental and emotional well being. If additional support had been available for my childcare costs then I would have continued (we already made use of childcare vouchers and were not entitled to tax credits).

If I haven't found a job in the six month period allowed for contribution-based JSA then I could apply for income-based JSA. I have no idea if I would get it as I'm hoping to have worked everything out by then but if I did then I'd apparently be able to get free childcare for Ollie when I don't actually need it.

Instead of setting up eligibility based on a child's age, the Government should be looking into ways of supporting parents in work.

So if you work but your childcare exceeds your salary, the Government will top it up and make it worth your while.

It's not hard, you take what a family earns and takes home each month then you take away the cost of their actual rent (don't even get me started on help for tenants) and a local average for council tax, utility bills and childcare and if it doesn't add up, then do something about it.

They'll stay in work. Contributing to society. To the economy. Less likely to be in debt. Less likely to require additional benefits.

Don't just keep chucking free childcare at the small percentage of lazy buggers who aren't going to work and just want time to have a hot cup of tea whilst their children are at nursery. That's not fair on anybody.

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