Education & Family

Parents 'consider quitting work over childcare costs'

baby Image copyright Thinkstock

One in five UK parents with childcare costs will reduce the hours they work or consider giving up work altogether in 2015, a survey suggests.

More than a quarter (28%) of the same parents will be cutting back on treats in order to meet childcare costs, the poll indicates.

And 16% say they will have to cut back on essentials over the next 12 months.

The survey of 1,000 parents paying for childcare was commissioned by the family charity 4Children.

Over half of those surveyed - 51% - thought the political parties should commit to more help with the cost of childcare for parents.

'Hard-pressed parents'

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption 4Children says the parents of the youngest children are feeling the pressures most acutely

Commenting on the survey, 4Children chief executive Anne Longfield said: "Childcare represents a huge financial challenge for most parents, and our poll shows the real impact costs are having on family life - from giving up work to cutting back on essentials.

"Removing parents' choice as to whether or not they continue to work after having children is not the answer for families or for the economy.

"Parents of the youngest children are feeling the pressures most acutely and are calling on politicians to do more to help, particularly with the cost of childcare."

Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said, under David Cameron, childcare costs had rocketed by 30%, wages were down by £1,600 and the availability of childcare had plummeted.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The survey comes as the early years pupil premium is piloted in seven local authorities

"We will increase free childcare for working parents with three- and four-year-olds from 15 to 25 hours, making a real difference to hard-pressed parents.

"Labour's plans for childcare will make work pay and boost the economy."

Research published by the insurer, Aviva, last month suggested one in 10 UK families saw one earner's wages used solely to cover childcare and commuting costs.

Early years pupil premium

The survey was published as seven local authorities receive £1m new government funding to help the most disadvantaged children receive high-quality early years education.

The early years pupil premium (EYPP) is being distributed between local authorities in:

  • Blackpool
  • Bristol
  • Cambridgeshire
  • North Yorkshire
  • Northamptonshire
  • Hackney
  • Stoke-on-Trent

Early years providers will receive up to £300 extra per year for each disadvantaged child in their care.

The Department for Education will ask for feedback from the councils before the full £50m EYPP is implemented throughout England in April.

The government said it was doing more than any previous administration to tackle childcare costs, with funding for early education for two-, three- and four-year-olds rising by over £1bn during the course of this Parliament.

A DfE spokesman said childcare costs were stabilising in England after having risen for 12 years.

"All three-and four-year-olds now receive 15 hours of free childcare a week, and we have extended this to around 40% of two-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds.

"The introduction of tax-free childcare will give almost two million families the opportunity to receive up to £2,000 of support per child."

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