Women would "pay more tax for better childcare," according to report
Almost half (44 per cent) of mothers in Yorkshire and the Humber surveyed by the Centre for Progressive Policy (CPP) said they’d be willing to pay more in tax to find a universal childcare offer, compared with 36 per cent of mothers in the general population.
Currently, parents of three to four-year-olds are entitled to 30 hours of free childcare a week, but support for parents of younger children is limited and dependent on income.
Up to one per cent of GDP is lost each year from mothers who cannot work the hours they’d like to due to childcare reasons, according to the CPP.
Some 27 per cent of those surveyed – equivalent to around 1.5 million mothers – said they would like to work more hours if they had access to suitable childcare. If these desired hours were realised, it would result in at least £9.4bn in additional earnings per year, producing additional economic output of upwards of £27bn per year, or approximately one per cent of UK GDP.
Last year analysis from Business in the Community found full time nursery care for a two-year-old costs up to two-thirds of take home pay for the average parent.
Rosie Fodgen, Head of Research & Analysis at CPP said: “The high cost of childcare is holding back our economy. Parents want to work more, but to do so they need more wraparound care and lower hourly costs without compromising on quality.
“Without it, many are left with no option but to forgo promotion, reduce their hours or stop work entirely at a time when the number of people struggling to meet the basic cost of living across the country is rising.
“Childcare is infrastructure: it allows people to go to work, to access better skills and earnings, and to contribute to the economy.
“Treating it as such would allow borrowing for investment, just like for other forms of infrastructure like rail.
“We will not transform our piecemeal childcare system overnight, but any credible strategy for growth and labour market participation must recognise and act on the clear economic gains of investing in childcare.”
The report, Growing pains: the economic costs of a failing childcare system found 64 per cent of the mums surveyed said a lower hourly cost would encourage them to use more childcare.
Some 69 per cent also said they want the government to support working parents by extending childcare into the school holidays.
Almost one in five (19 per cent) of people in Yorkshire are out of work because they are caring for children or other family members, according to the CPP.
Some six per cent of mothers surveyed in Yorkshire said they would like to work an additional 21 to 30 hours per week if they had access to suitable childcare, compared to three per cent nationwide.
Labour’s shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson, said: “The case for moving to a reformed modern childcare system has never been clearer, and Labour will deliver change that will benefit children, families and our economy.
“We cannot go on with a broken model that fails to give children the best start in life, parents and women in particular the flexibility to get back into the workplace, and the economic growth our country desperately needs.”
A Department for Education spokesperson said: ““This Government has doubled the entitlement for working parents of three and four-year-olds to 30 hours and introduced 15 free hours a week for disadvantaged two-year-olds.
“On top of this, working parents on Universal Credit may be eligible for help with up to 85 per cent of their childcare costs through Universal Credit to support with the costs of childcare.”