Childcare is costing parents more than half of their pay

A startling new study has revealed just how high the cost of childcare is for families across England – with one in seven parents saying the costs total to more than half of their pay.

In a survey of 2,200 workers, it was discovered that one in three working parents with pre-school children spend over a third of their pay on childcare.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) said its study indicates childcare costs are putting huge pressure on family budgets.

Black, minority ethnic and disabled working parents were most likely to lose more of their wages to childcare bills, as they were more likely to be in low paid jobs.

TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: ‘Parents are spending a massive chunk of their pay packets on childcare bills, while their wages stagnate.

‘This is putting huge pressure on family budgets. We desperately need a plan to get wages rising across the economy or too many families will have to choose between turning their heating on or putting food on the table.

‘Every worker in Britain should be paid a wage they can live on, that goes up with the cost of living, and the government must commit to a boost in childcare funding to ensure decent affordable childcare for everyone.’

Based on the new findings, the TUC has called for an urgent cash boost to give childcare workers better wages to make their outgoings more manageable.

They’re also asking for a long-term funding settlement to make sure childcare is affordable and available for all families.

Helen Hayes, shadow minister for children and early years, said: ‘Good quality childcare and early education is essential for children to thrive and for parents to pursue a career, but it is wholly unaffordable for far too many families.

‘On top of extortionate childcare costs, parents now face being hit by the Conservatives’ unfair tax hike, soaring energy bills and spiralling price rises.

‘Unlike the government, Labour would put families first. To help ease the cost of living, we would halt the National Insurance tax rise and use a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas producers to cut household energy bills by up to £600.’

Justine Roberts, founder of Mumsnet, added: ‘We know that mothers are frequently forced to reduce their hours or leave work altogether because of the prohibitive cost of childcare, and as the cost of living crisis bites this problem will only get worse.

‘The Government should look at these findings from the TUC, recognise childcare as the vital infrastructure it is and come up with a plan to fix our broken system.’

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