Claire Perry is the Member of Parliament for Devizes and PPS to Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Defence. Follow Claire on Twitter.
Parenting is the most important job there is and I have always fought the corner of stay-at-home parents in Parliament. After all, I was one for seven years and know the sacrifice that it entails - anyone who thinks that it is a cushy option to be at home all day with small children and a household to run, clearly has never done the job.
I have always wanted this Government to do everything it can to help families of all shapes and sizes. But in difficult financial times it is hard to argue that we should give childcare subsidies to families where there is already a parent caring for a child full time, as some people have called for this week.
Most households in Britain are struggling at the moment. Costs of living are rising everywhere; from energy bills to food prices and fees for childcare are spiralling faster than almost anything else. Daycare Trust figures show that average costs have increased in the past year by more than 6%, double the rate of inflation and we have some of the highest childcare bills in the world. For many parents, going out to work, even part time, is no longer an option because childcare is so prohibitively expensive - it just does not make sense to pay for childcare when it eats up so much of your earnings. As a Conservative who wants parents to have choices, I just don’t think this is right.