Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/685/12762
Childcare costs push parents into hardship
Tory/Lib Dem claims to support families in Britain are looking increasingly threadbare as a recent study by Save the Children and the Daycare Trust shows.
According to the study, families are being forced into debt to pay for childcare costs. One in four parents spend almost one-third of their incomes on childcare, on a par with mortgage or rent payments.
Some families have even cut back their spending on essentials such as food as they struggle with government cuts to working tax credits and high childcare costs.
The report says that 25% of parents in severe poverty have given up work and 33% have declined a job offer because of childcare costs. This makes a mockery of government claims to be assisting parents back into the workforce and off benefits.
Responding to the report Michelle, a single parent in Hackney, east London, told the Socialist: "I find that the whole system is not geared to supporting women. I know some people would argue with that because the government pays 70% of childcare costs in tax credit. But when I was working full time I found it a real struggle as a significant proportion of my salary had to pay for childcare.
I've worked all my life but after I became a mother, working full time and paying for the childcare expenses on my own meant there were times when I struggled.
If I was working again I would only work part-time and for me that is a bit of an issue because there should be parity between male and female workers.
I believe that in a democracy if you really want women to be in the workplace then there should be free childcare for all. That would be a goodwill gesture by the government to say 'yes, we do value women in the workplace'. "
"When you have expensive childcare it keeps you on the breadline. And what's the point of working if you are going to be on the breadline. I thought the whole reason for going out to work was that you could have a better standard of living. But the reality is that that is not always the case - especially if you are a lone parent."
Teresa from Coventry is a working single parent with a one-and-a-half year old child in full time childcare. She commented:
"As a single parent on a low income I received the maximum amount of working tax credit toward childcare, which until 1 April this year covered 80%. But on that date the government reduced it to 70% which meant for me having to find an extra £80 a month for childcare. This 70% is based on a government maximum when in reality childcare costs a lot more.
Working mothers on low incomes were among the first people who have taken a massive hit from this government. My child went into full time childcare last August and since then the nursery costs have gone up twice while I've been on a two-year pay freeze. I've actually chosen to take voluntary redundancy - I may have been made compulsorily redundant anyway - and one of the factors was the cost of childcare."
In The Socialist 14 September 2011:
Socialist Party features
Socialist Party youth and students
Stop attacks on pensions
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis
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