March 4, 2016
Childcare in the UK is too expensive and frequently unavailable to those who need it most. These are the main conclusions of a newly-published report, by the Family and Childcare Trust, on the cost and availability of childcare in the UK. This detailed annual report is based on survey data collected from Family Information Centres thought the country.
According to the report, only 45% of English Councils had enough childcare places to meet the demands of full-time working parents. An estimated 41,300 three year old children also missed out on free childcare as a result of under provision. This casts serious doubt on the government’s ability to extend the free entitlement programme from 15 to 30 hours per week in 2017. Furthermore, only 9% local authorities in England had sufficient after school childcare
provision for 5-11 year olds. The poor provision for disabled children was also highlighted, with only 15% of English authorities meeting demands.
For the first time in seven years, the average increase in the cost of childcare stayed largely in line with inflation. Nevertheless, childcare is still expensive and unaffordable for many parents, particularly those on the lowest incomes. According to the report, future increases in childcare costs are likely to rise above inflation, as the industry adjusts to new changes. For example, the introduction of the National Living Wage for childcare workers, as well as pension auto-enrolment, are likely to push up costs.
The high cost and inadequate provision of childcare remain significant factors preventing the parents of pre-school children returning to work. A lack of after school care also pushes many parents of school-aged children into low paid, part time employment. The report concludes that a complete and comprehensive reform of the childcare sector is necessary in order to make it fit for purpose.
To read the full report, from the Family and Childcare Trust, please use the following link: 2016 Childcare Survey.
Rob Hodgkison, Harmony at Home Ltd. All Rights Reserved, 2016
Posted by Harmony at Home Head Office Team | Filed Under Expert Advice