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New survey shows soaring cost of childcare, 07/09/11 [W]

Families on low-incomes across the UK are having to turn down jobs or are considering leaving work because they can’t afford to pay for childcare, according to new research from Save the Children and Daycare Trust. The survey also found that parents, regardless of income, say that they can’t afford not to work, but struggle to pay for childcare. And despite many parents cutting back their spending, almost a quarter have got into debt because of childcare costs.

Parents in Britain spend almost a third of their incomes on childcare – more than anywhere else in the world – and such high costs have the greatest consequences for the poorest families. Of those families in severe poverty, nearly half have cut back on food to afford childcare and 58% said they were or would be no better off working once childcare is paid for.

The cut to the working tax credit has also dealt a massive blow to hard working families struggling in severe poverty with four in ten of those affected considering giving up work because they will no longer earn enough to cover the childcare bill. The cut has added up to £1,560 per year onto the childcare bill of some low income families, according to the research.

Save the Children and Daycare Trust are now calling on the government to increase the amount they plan to spend on childcare support under the new universal credit – to pay up to 80% of childcare costs for low income families – in a bid to prevent low income families from being priced out of work and into poverty.  

Download the report