London childcare costs are squeezing parents out of work

The high price of childcare is a large yet under-recognised factor in London’s high cost of living. New research for the charity 4Children bears out the dilemma it can place families in. It finds that nearly a quarter of parents in the capital believe they’ll either give up work this year or think about doing so because the expense of employing a childminder or paying for a nursery to enable them to do their jobs outweighs the benefits, financial and familial, of working. A similar number of parents anticipated cutting back on their working hours.

These figures are extracted from a national survey by Opinium of 1,000 parents with children aged 0-16 living at home, so the London sample will be have been pretty small. Even so, the results are right in line with what we already know.

A 2012 London Assembly report on the issue emphasised the problem caused by the “affordability gap” along with the “complexities and inflexibilities” of the various schemes designed to help parents secure the care they need. Using facts from the Daycare Trust it showed that the problem is bigger in London than elsewhere in Britain, with average nursery costs upwards of 20% higher and childminder costs over 30% more than elsewhere in the country. The research for 4Children seems to reflect this, as its national figures for those considering reducing their hours or stopping work completely are, at 18%, lower than those for the capital.

Solutions? Although this cost of living story gets less publicity than housing or travel costs, it isn’t being ignored by London’s politicians. The Assembly report was from a Conservative-chaired and dominated committee. Its six recommendations included urging Boris Johnson to encourage London employers to offer childcare voucher schemes. Responding to a question from Lib Dem AM Stephen Knight, Johnson said in November that the London Enterprise Panel, the partnership body he chairs, is addressing childcare using European Social Fund money. Labour’s Fiona Twycross has also been pressing the mayor on the issue. Her party says its pledge of 25 hours of free childcare for three and four year-olds would benefit 72,550 London children. Mayoral hopeful Tessa Jowell gave a high profile to the issue in a recent speech.

Childcare costs are part of the wider London problem of low incomes and poor pay. Bluntly, affluent households can afford them while others struggle to do so – in expensive areas, a full-time, pre-school London nursery place can cost £22,000 a year. There’s wide agreement that this should change for the good of families and London as a whole. As the general election draws near, the case for cheaper childcare should be loudly made and clearly heard.

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London childcare costs are squeezing parents out of work
childcare – Yahoo News Search Results
childcare – Yahoo News Search Results

カテゴリー: Childcare   パーマリンク


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