If grandparents are paid for childminding, the bureaucrats will inevitably want to regulate them
It was fairly inevitable, I suppose, that sooner or later a pressure group would demand that the taxpayer pay grandparents for looking after their grandchildren. After all, there is barely anything in life these days that passes unpaid, so the climate must be right for some judicious exploitation of this most uncomplicated of relationships. So, we are told, your average granny would now like to be rewarded for her hard work with little Sofia or Emily or Jack. Or all three at once.
Looked at through accountant's spectacles, grandparents are a big business proposition. The UK has an estimated 13 million of them, more than a third of whom are said to spend the equivalent of three days a week caring for their grandchildren. If they all received extra state funding - in the form of national insurance credits and two weeks' “granny leave” - and if their children received childcare tax credit for using them as carers, we are looking at a scheme that involves a considerable bill for the taxpayer.