07/09/2011

Childcare Costs Force Poor Out Of Work

Families on low-incomes across the UK are having to turn down jobs or are considering leaving work because they can't afford to pay for childcare.

New research from Save the Children and Daycare Trust also found that parents, regardless of income, say that they can't afford not to work, but struggle to pay for childcare. And despite many parents cutting back their spending, almost a quarter have got into debt because of childcare costs.

Parents in Britain spend almost a third of their incomes on childcare and such high costs have the greatest consequences for the poorest families. Of those families in severe poverty, nearly half have cut back on food to afford childcare and 58% said they were or would be no better off working once childcare is paid for.

The cut to the working tax credit has also dealt a massive blow to hard working families struggling in severe poverty with four in ten of those affected considering giving up work because they will no longer earn enough to cover the childcare bill. The cut has added on average £500 per year on to the childcare bill of low income families.

Save the Children and Daycare Trust are calling on the government to increase the amount they plan to spend on childcare support under the new universal credit, to pay up to 80% of childcare costs for low income families up to current weekly maximums, in a bid to prevent low income families from being priced out of work and into poverty.

Sally Copley, Save the Children's Head of Poverty, said: "The government is undermining its own 'make work pay' policy by not funding the costs of childcare for the poorest families. Childcare in the UK is amongst the most expensive in the world and families on low incomes simply don't earn enough to cover the costs and are being priced out of work as a result. The recent cut to the working tax credit has only made this worse with many parents realising they are no better off working and they and their children remain trapped in poverty. The government must give the poorest parents a chance to work their way above the poverty line. We know that the best way out of child poverty is to help parents into work."

(CD/GK)

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