Budget 2014: £1,200 tax break set to be announced for working families

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Osborne cautious over minimum wage

It's likely chancellor George Osborne could introduce a £1,200 tax break per child to working couples when Osborne announces details of the Budget mid-week. Effectively it means a sweetener on the first £6,000 a family have to fork out for childminders and nursery care. Even nannies. Catch? It will likely only be available to families where both parents work.

Single earner families left out

Marie Peacock from pressure group Mothers at Home Matter told the Mail the news did little to support single-earner families. "This further exacerbates their disadvantage. It's going to be available to parents on joint incomes of up to £300,000."

She added: "How can it be right to help working couples on such high incomes with a tax break while penalising single-earner families on much less?"

Last year the Family and Childcare Trust's Holiday Childcare Costs Survey 2013 claimed the average cost of childcare during school holidays smashed the £100 per week barrer, for the first time, across all of Britain.

The average cost of one week's holiday childcare in Britain was £109.23, it said, or around £450 a month.

More than the mortgage

That means for many they spend more on childcare than on the mortgage or rent. Parents living in the East of England were claimed to shell out more than anywhere else in Britain at an average £129.78 per week.

Average fees for one child in part-time nursery and another in an after-school club are estimated to come in £7,549 per year.

That compares with the average UK mortgage cost of an estimated £7,207 last year. One Hampshire interviewee told the BBC recently he had "yet to find a nursery that charges just £11,700 a year. We are paying around £14,000 and I understand it is even higher in London."

£28,000

He added: "If we wanted to have a second child that cost would double to £28,000, which is outrageous. I suspect many working mums do not earn a net salary of £28,000."

The problem is a mix of issues. UK wages have not lifted with inflation. House prices, particularly in the south east, are at an all-time high. Childcare costs continue to spiral. Some families spend more on childcare than they do on food (or housing costs). For some, a tax break won't come soon enough.