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Poorest parents priced out of work by childcare costs

Save the Children and Daycare Trust today launched a report with the results of a new survey on the costs of childcare.

Knowing that work is the best route out of poverty, our organisations wanted to see how childcare costs were impacting on parents’ – especially the poorest parents’ – ability to work.

More than 4000 parents took part in the survey with earning incomes across the spectrum.

The findings showed that most parents are struggling with rising childcare costs. 41% of parents put childcare costs on a par with their mortgage or rent.

Can’t afford to work

A majority of all parents who took part in the survey agreed with the statement “I can’t afford not to work, but I struggle to pay for childcare.”

But the survey shows clearly that it’s the parents on the lowest incomes who are suffering the consequences of rising childcare costs, coupled with a government cut back to support through working tax credit put through by the coalition government in April this year.

Crucially, 40 % of parents in severe poverty (earning less than £12,000 a year) who have been affected by the cut in government support for childcare costs said that they were thinking of giving up their job because of childcare costs.

Soaring childcare costs

This drives a real concern that we may see more families and children trapped in deep poverty because of rising childcare costs.

Through no fault of their own, faced by spiralling childcare costs, stagnant wages and a cut to government support, the poorest parents are struggling to stay in work.

The government, which has promised to overhaul the welfare system so that work is guaranteed to pay more than benefits, has to ensure there is sufficient investment in support for childcare costs so that parents are not priced out of work.

More support for struggling families

Save the Children and Daycare Trust are calling on the government to increase the funding available so that parents can claim up to 80% of childcare costs (up to existing weekly maximums) when the new universal credit is introduced in 2013.

If the Chancellor does this, the government will be able to deliver on its laudable and vital promise to make work pay for the UK’s poorest families.

Please act now to help us change the government’s mind by emailing email your MP – it will take you just two minutes and will us help us win the argument.

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