Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, writing in The Guardian, wants to tell us all that having a child in today's Britain is a very difficult thing. House prices, low wages, the cost of childcare, the list of reasons not to goes on. This leads to our low fertility rate:
These are quite some mixed messages. The Office for National Statistics reports that the birthrate has reached a 12-year low as couples have fewer children or defer having them until later. It has been falling since 2012, while the average number of children expected to be born to each woman (called the fertility rate) has fallen to 1.76. This, the Times reports, “coincides with a long squeeze on wages and weak pay growth after the 2008 financial crisis, and is likely to reflect sustained pressure on household incomes”.
There is, we are told, a solution to this. What we shouldn't do:
Brexit is only likely to decrease workers’ rights. There is so much focus on emulating and trading with the US, but doing so is hardly likely to improve our birthrate. It’s one of the worst countries in the world for maternity law.
The US fertility rate is almost exactly the same as that in the UK. And what we should do:
At the same time, we should recognise that in terms of supporting and encouraging would-be parents and new parents, the UK remains well behind other European nations. It is by following their models that we will see families thrive.
In 2016, the total fertility rate in the EU-28 was 1.60 live births per woman
The UK's (and that of the US) fertility rate is above that of the rest of the EU, that place we're supposed to emulate so as to make it easier for people to have children and thus raise our fertility rate.
We really are liberals around here and we're entirely fine with people having different opinions to our own. But we begin to object when they decide upon a different reality.