The UK has the second most expensive childcare system in the world. On average, a full-time place costs £14,000 per year, making it unaffordable for many families, particularly single parents and those on low incomes. Research by Pregnant Then Screwed in 2020 found that two-thirds of mothers work fewer hours than they want to because of childcare costs and research by Save the Children found that there are 870,000 stay at home mums who want to work but can't because of childcare cost and availability. It was also found that childcare workers are paid so badly that 1 in 10 are officially living in poverty.
Issues were exacerbated when the UK Government cut funding to the childcare sector in December 2020 despite being in the middle of a pandemic, resulting in 2,087 childcare settings closing in England in the first 3 months of this year.
This has led to leading women’s magazine Grazia and its specialty parenting brand The Juggle to partner with Pregnant Then Screwed to demand a reform to the childcare sector. Together they have launched a petition to call on the Government to commission an independent review into the funding and affordability of the UK’s childcare sector and accept its recommendations.
Hattie Brett, Editor of Grazia said: “At Grazia, we want to continually stand up for the issues that matter most to our readers. Through our new parenting community @TheJuggleUK we’ve heard from many parents that the current system of childcare is broken. Children and families are currently being let down by a system that is not fit for purpose. So together with Pregnant Then Screwed we’re hoping that we can drive a change and ensure that both parents and those working in childcare are better supported going forwards.”
Joeli Brearley, Founder, Pregnant Then Screwed, added: “Without access to good quality, cost effective childcare, we trap women and force them back to the kitchen sink. Childcare is social infrastructure; it is critical to the survival and growth of our economy, and the mental and physical health of our children. An independent review would reveal the true extent of the problems caused by the Government’s repeated under investment in this sector, and it would ensure they could no longer make excuses.”
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