Government urged to provide all children with childcare

The
GMB and Daycare Trust are calling on the Government and employers to provide
childcare for all children, as a new survey shows that six out of seven parents
of children under the age of eight do not have access to affordable childcare.

A
Daycare Trust study shows that in areas where childcare is available, parents
struggle to afford it as the average cost is £120 per week.

British
parents pay the highest childcare bills in Europe – typically £6,200 a year for
a nursery place, up 10 per cent from last year, Daycare Trust’s Raising
Expectations report says.

Only
4 per cent of parents receive financial support from their employers and the
average award from the government is £39 per week through childcare tax credit.

In
addition, to increase the number of available places, the National Childcare
strategy will have to recruit 150,000 new workers. The GMB predicts this will
be difficult as the average wage in this sector is £11,000 and recruitment and
retention remains very low.

John
Edmonds, GMB General Secretary said: "Childcare is a vital investment in
the future of our country. Without investment from the Government and
employers, most children will continue to be left without childcare. The
Government needs to develop a strategy that will give incentives for employers
to share the cost for providing for the workforce of the future. The GMB also
calls on the Government to address the serious recruitment and retention
problems in the childcare sector by valuing those that provide this vital
service."

Stephen
Burke, Director of Daycare Trust said: "Daycare Trust has been campaigning
for a rejuvenated national childcare strategy which will not only deliver
childcare for all but will also address child poverty. The current childcare
services do not meet the needs of British families. We need action that will
create more places at a cost that parents can afford. The Government must not
duck the childcare challenge."

By Quentin Reade

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