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Locked out of work

8 Mawrth 2023

Locked out of work  [ 0.78 mb]

Parents wanting to work need to buy childcare, but with the cost of full-time care for children under 3 now exceeding the average cost of renting in England, many simply can’t afford to. And instead of helping parents overcome these barriers, the support offer for low income families reinforces them.

Support is only available after fees have been paid, locking parents out of work. And parents who are able to find the upfront costs will find they can’t work the hours they want because of limits on support set over 15 years ago that no longer reflect the cost of childcare today.

Hundreds of thousands of low income parents who want to work are being locked out of jobs, or trapped in part-time work due to a support system that isn’t fit for purpose.

Getting the support offer right for low income families who wouldn’t otherwise be able to enter work is a win-win situation. Families benefit from higher incomes, employers benefit from additional workers, and the economy benefits from higher productivity.

The government must reform the childcare offer for low income parents. It can either extend the provision of free childcare hours to younger children or reform the Universal Credit offer. The latter must include providing support in advance – to parents or directly to providers – and removing the reimbursement limit so that it reflects the true cost of childcare.