Anyone that says “you decided to have kids, you should pay for them” is a shortsighted moron. Whether or not you want to have children yourself it is absolutely critical that we give kids the best start in life, regardless of their socio-economic background. That’s not just about being all liberal and left-wing, if we want a buyount economy we need a well-rounded, well-educated workforce and confident, passionate entrpreneurs. That means supporting children and their parents along the way.
The Scottish Government National Parenting Strategy is launched this week and Parenting Across Scotland have been asking ‘What do you think would make Scotland the best place in the world to bring up children?’ – hence my ranty blog post.
Here’s my wishlist:
According to a survey by childcare charity the Daycare Trust, the cost of a nursery place for a two-year-old has increased more than twice the rate of inflation. Free or heavily subsidised isn’t just a selfish request from a parent – it means more people can enter the workforce or start their own business. Significantly it means more women can begin a career, making Scotland a more egalitarian country.
Free from Nursery School right up to University. Your access to education should not be determined by how much money your parents have.
We’re still obsessed with Mon-Fri 9-5, how quaint. More part-time roles, at all levels, means more parents can look after their kids and have a career. Does it really have to be one or the other?
Free access to relationship counselling and family mediation
OK I do some work with the charity Relationships Scotland but that’s not my reason for this one. I genuinely believe that a modest investment in these types of family support services could save the Scottish Government millions, if not billions, of pounds a year in social work costs, policing, Legal Aid and the list goes on. Parents that can communicate with each other, whether together or separated, are much more likely to work together for their kids best interests throughout their lives.
Stop private companies profiteering from public transport
I’m not sure if this should be on the list or not but I hate the fact that public transport has become a luxury in this country. It’s time that public tranport was truly public – allowing for a more mobile workforce and giving families the chance to travel freely.
Stop villifying sections of society
Thankfully I’d don’t think we’re seeing as much of this in the Scottish press as we are south of the border but we really need to stop villifying vast swathes of society, blaming them for our financial and social ills. Single parents, asylum seekers, disabled people, young people…somehow it’s their fault we’re in this mess.
So what help do you think mums and dads need? What do you think would make Scotland the best place in the world to bring up children?
Leave your comments and/or tweet your thoughts using the #PAS12 hashtag over on Twitter.