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Childcare costs stop parents returning to work

The cost of childcare is increasing and yet wages are not keeping up so we weren’t surprised to read the results of a recent survey from childcare website Findababysitter. On average the cost of childcare has increased by 19% over the last year and now the national average hourly charge rate is £9.80 so childcare costs are preventing parents from returning to employment.

One in four unemployed parents surveyed said that they would rather work but that the cost of childcare is keeping them out of work. Just over half of the parent’s questioned for the survey said that the government isn’t doing enough to help support families. The average hourly rate has increased for childcare to £9.80 from £8.10 per hour and after school nannies are also charging a lot at an average of £10 per hour.

According to the study the worst hit cities for childcare costs are Bristol, Birmingham, London, Leeds and Oxford. The chief executive of Daycare Trust, Anand Shukla, reacted to survey by saying: “Finding affordable, flexible and high quality childcare is still - and will remain - one of the biggest challenges faced by families.”

Unison, the second largest trade union in the United Kingdom, were asked for their opinions. Sharon Greene, women's officer for Unison, said: "It is a sad fact that in 2014 women still face too many barriers in the workplace. The high cost of childcare is pricing many women out of their jobs, forcing them to give up work which puts family finances under massive pressure.”

She went on to warn the government: “If the country is to recover from the economic downturn the Government needs to listen to working parents and take account of the needs of the modern workplace. That means providing funding for more affordable, flexible and quality childcare.”

Unfortunately the coalition government seem to be working against this by scrapping universal child benefit last year. They have promised an entitlement for working parents with childcare costs that could be worth up to £1,200 but the Tax-Free Childcare scheme doesn’t start until 2015.

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