We’re always interested in issues that are relevant to Unions and their members, and this week, a post on the Broadbent Blog by Rick Smith, Executive Director of the Institute, titled, ‘The Conservatives Propose Family Policy for a Bygone Age’ caught our attention.
The post takes a critical look at the new federal family policies and tax scheme, arguing that these are most likely to benefit traditional families with stay at home spouses, ignoring the needs of those most in need of assistance, as well as calls for an affordable national child care program. The government’s ‘token’ proposals include a modest increase to the Child Care Expense Deduction, which Smith suggests is unlikely make child care any more affordable. They also proposed an income splitting scheme (‘the Family Tax Cut’), which will allow families with children under 18 years to split income of up to $50,000. Smith suggests that this tax break will provide little or no benefit to single parent families or families where both parents are in the same tax bracket. In addition, the government included an increase to the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) from $100 to $160 per month for each child under the age of six, as well as $60 per month for each child age six. Again, a benefit which Smith suggests will have little impact on the affordability of child care.
The bottom line according to the author – the new federal policies are likely to do little to provide effective measures to help those families who are struggling most, or to create an affordable national child care system.