Thursday, 31 May 2012

Mind the Gap - Raise the Cap Campaign Increases Its Supporters

Childcare arrangements and costs are a hot topic at the moment.  On the 30th May 2012 Nick Clegg joined the Daybreak team to discuss the announcement of changes to the childcare system.
Daybreak, the morning news program on ITV, visited Busy Bees St Matthews Burntwood nursery to interview nursery manager Caroline Cooper about the changes being introduced to the government funding on childcare places.  You can see the interview and full feature here.
During the feature an interviewee on the street was asked how the changed would affect her, she said: “It wouldn’t make any difference because I work full time anyway, so I wouldn’t have been able to use it either side.  What would be a bigger benefit is the childcare voucher allowance being increased.”
Concurrent with the increasing attention on the issue of childcare costs, Busy Bees Benefits recently launched the ‘Mind the Gap – Raise the Cap’ campaign. The campaign aims to raise the weekly childcare voucher cap from £55 to £75 to help make childcare more affordable for working parents.  The £55 cap has not changed since 2006 although childcare costs have continued to rise.  For more information about the campaign please visit our website. 
There is growing pressure for the childcare voucher allowance to be increased; this would mean that working parents can make tax and national insurance savings when taking childcare vouchers to help pay for their childcare.
You can help to support the campaign by signing the e-petition.
For more information about childcare vouchers and how they can help you save money, please visit www.busybeesbenefits.com.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

KiddiVouchers Backs "Mind the Gap - Raise the Cap" Campaign

Busy Bees Benefits launched its “Mind the Gap – Raise the Cap” campaign in May and is pleased to announce that childcare voucher provider KiddiVouchers is now supporting the campaign.
Mind the Gap – Raise the Cap” aims to persuade the government to raise the amount of salary a working parent can sacrifice in exchange for childcare vouchers from £55 to £75 per week. The current maximum of £55 has not changed since 2006. A rise will help close the gap which has opened up between the increasing cost of childcare and the value of childcare vouchers and help working parents save more on the cost of childcare.
Alison Chalmers, Director at KiddiVouchers, said:
“The cost of childcare remains a hot topic, with childcare often costing parents as much as their mortgage.  Childcare vouchers provide a powerful economic stimulus, by encouraging parents to return to work, by helping to fund high quality early education and by assisting employers who are striving to be family-friendly.  The childcare voucher system includes careful controls to ensure funds can only be spent on regulated childcare, meaning that this scheme is more accurately targeted than other types of support.  With every penny spent on childcare vouchers going straight back into the economy, we believe this proposal fits well with the Government’s austerity plus growth agenda. ”
At the centre of the campaign is an e-petition by Busy Bees Group Managing Director, John Woodward. This can be found at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/31669 and is open until March 2013. The aim is to achieve 100,000 signatures, to make the issue eligible for debate in the House of Commons, leading to a policy change in the 2013 Budget.
John Woodward said:
“We are delighted that KiddiVouchers have joined the Busy Bees campaign. There is always a healthy competition between childcare voucher providers, but it is nice to see that supporting the interests of working parents is actually the reason we are in business”.
The campaign has initially been rolled out via Busy Bees nurseries and Busy Bees Benefits customers and has attracted significant attention in the press and on social media. The e-petition has already attracted support from over 3000 signatories.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Busy Bees Campaigns to Make Childcare More Affordable

During these difficult economic times, working families are finding the management of their finances even more of a challenge. Childcare costs can take up to half of a parent’s salary and fees have continued to rise, with an increase of 6% in the last year alone.1  Parents obviously want the best standard of childcare for their children, but with finances being squeezed, many are finding that the choice they make is based on affordability rather than quality.
In the context of these financial pressures, Busy Bees Benefits has launched a national campaign to help working parents save more on the cost of childcare. The “Mind the Gap – Raise the Cap” campaign aims to persuade the government to raise the weekly childcare voucher cap allowance from £55 to £75.
Childcare vouchers are an employee benefit used to pay for any registered childcare for children up to the age of 16.  Any working parent can use childcare vouchers if their employer provides a scheme. At the centre of the campaign is an e-petition by Busy Bees Group Managing Director, John Woodward. This can be found at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/31669. The aim is to achieve 100,000 signatures, to make the issue eligible for debate in the House of Commons, leading to a policy change in the 2013 Budget.
The campaign has initially been rolled out via Busy Bees nurseries and has already created a buzz amongst staff and parents whose children attend one of the 146 sites across the UK. Clients of Busy Bees Benefits – employers with a Busy Bees childcare voucher scheme, carers who accept Busy Bees childcare vouchers and parents who use them to help meet their childcare costs - have also been told about the campaign and asked to sign the petition.
John Woodward said:
“The cap allowance was set by the government at £55 per week and this has not changed since 2006.  As the UK’s largest provider of childcare, serving more than 15,000 children, we understand the pressures on working parents. We would like to help parents as much as possible, however we must be realistic. We want the campaign to receive the attention it deserves from the government and achieve its aim. Therefore, we think that £75 is an achievable target, which will make a real difference to working parents. With the cap at £75, basic rate taxpayers taking the maximum amount in childcare vouchers could save over £300 extra per year, with total savings amounting to over £1200 per parent, per year.”
The Daycare Trust’s survey revealed that average childcare costs are now over £100 for a part-time place (25 hours) in many areas of the country. The average yearly spend on childcare for a child under two is £5,103.
Business benefit
In addition to helping parents, childcare vouchers help businesses to attract and retain experienced staff, which is particularly important in the current tough economic climate.
By providing a childcare voucher scheme, businesses also benefit by saving on employer National Insurance contributions. Under current rates, if a working parent sacrifices the maximum amount of £243 per month in return for childcare vouchers, a business can save over £400 per year for a basic rate taxpayer2 taking childcare vouchers.  If the cap were to rise to £75 per week, savings per scheme user, per year, paying basic rate tax would rise to almost £550.
For more information about the campaign visit www.busybeesbenefits.com.

·         1 Daycare Trust’s Annual Childcare costs survey 2012
·         2 before service charge for operating the scheme. Service charges applied by Bees Bees Benefits are always less than employer National Insurance contributions.