Summer Holidays Childcare Challenge: Lancashire mum needed bank loan just to cope with childcare
Having a child is a huge blessing, one which Marie Dixon treasures every day.
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Having a child is a huge blessing, one which Marie Dixon treasures every day.The 45-year-old was delighted to fall pregnant naturally after being told she was unable to conceive.And whilst she would never swap her life, she admits she was not prepared for the cost, especially around childcare for her three-year-old son Jared.Despite earning a total of Â£42,000 between her and her husband Martin, she was still struggling and even resorted to asking for a bank loan.Marie, of Leyland, explained: “It is not easy if you are both full time working parents with a child under three and not getting childcare vouchers or child tax credits.“When I returned to work at the DWP as a civil servant in the post room, I got a bit of help with child care vouchers of Â£130 a month which helped. This was taken off my salary of Â£15,000 a year, which meant I saved Â£60 in tax. I was not allowed to give up any more of my salary to save on more tax as I was told this would put me in the poverty line.“I found that ridiculous as I still had to pay it but this way I couldn’t save more on tax.“We also received tax credits of Â£538 for a year for childcare. I ended up paying Â£9,500 a year for childcare, which was most of my salary. We had to live off Martin’s salary.“But things became more difficult between the age of two and three as I had no help from the government and I still needed to find Â£9,500 for childcare. I was not entitled to child tax credits and I was not entitled to childcare vouchers. I was also not eligible for 30 hours free child care because I was in full time work.“I applied for a bank loan but I was told I didn’t have enough extra money to pay for the loan.“Luckily I got made redundant in March, which worked out better for us. But then I was in the odd situation where I had only just qualified for 30 free hours but now, as I am redundant I don’t qualify. Yet I can’t apply for a job until September.“After much argument, I am now entitled to child tax credit up until September and I can claim 15 hours free childcare.“Although I am at home, I have started a college course for a PA diploma and so I still send Jared to nursery four days a week at Busy Bees in Bamber Bridge. I could not afford any other nurseries in Leyland. Busy Bees is more affordable at Â£750 a month, rather than the usual Â£900.“Jared will start pre school at St James in Leyland in September which will help.”Although Marie and Martin had always planned a family, after years of trying and failed fertility treatment, they had given up on the idea.Marie added: “We put all our savings into our house as we didn’t expect to have any children. Jared is our little miracle. But if anything unexpected happens, such as a problem with the house or car, we don’t know where the money will come from.”Marie added she wouldn’t be able to afford any more children and doesn’t know how others with a bigger family cope.She said: “Things can happen, relationships can break down and suddenly you could find yourself a single parent with three or four children. I don’t think families should be penalised.“You think that if you both work full time, you should be able to afford two children but even one is a struggle with the cost of child care.“These children grow up to be future earners so I think there should be more help, especially when both parents are working, paying taxes.”