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Childcare: time for parents to speak out

Childcare is a massive issue for parents. And we want the government to take a closer look at how much it’s costing families across the UK – not just in terms of money but in terms of lost job prospects because they can’t get the childcare they need so they can work.

Natalie, a single parent of two, told us things are getting tougher for her. “I was already struggling to meet my childcare costs. But with the childcare element of working tax credits being reduced from covering 80% to 70% of childcare costs, and with the basic element of Working Tax Credits being frozen, I’ll be worse off. I’m a part-time dance teacher and get working tax credits, child tax credits, and the childcare element of working tax credits. I fear the new system will make it less affordable for me to work.”

According to Daycare Trust, this cut could equate to a loss of up to £1,560 per year for families already struggling with the burden of massive childcare costs.

Caught in a trap

The government wants to reform welfare to “make work pay”. But Natalie’s situation isn’t a one-off. For many parents, even if their wages will stretch to cover childcare costs – which for some can be more expensive than their rent or mortgage – they may be forced to reduce their hours or sacrifice training or promotions.

If parents become trapped by their finances – living on the bare minimum but unable to take up work that helps their families grow and develop – it could mean more of our children grow up in poverty.

Give our children a chance

Every child should get the chance to fulfil their potential but parents – especially the poorest – need more support to give their children that chance.

“I don’t want more money, I want the opportunity to not live in poverty,” says Julie, a mother of four from London. “I’m not a lazy person – if there was a job I could fit around the children I would take it.”

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