Call for better pay for childcare workers

A new report on social mobility highlights the need for better pay for childcare workers.

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Teacher and adorable children being creative with colorful pencils at kindergarten

Childminders need to be paid a decent wage as part of a strategy to promote greater social mobility, according to a new report.

The report by the Social Mobility Commission calls for a new joined-up approach to promoting social mobility, saying government departments have failed to act on a third of its key recommendations in the last seven years. The report says almost half (46%) of its recommendations have resulted in insufficient progress and that there had only been strong progress on a quarter.

The report said that, for instance, good progress had been made on supporting parents from disadvantaged backgrounds with help for home learning and in eradicating illiteracy and innumeracy in primary schools.

The Commission identified several areas of ‘major concern’ where the government had failed to deliver, including the fact that 45% of the early years’ workforce are on tax credits or benefits. It says steps need to be taken to increase the status and prestige of childcare workers.

The Commission also highlighted that the Government had failed to take up its recommendation to expand eligibility for the 30-hour childcare offer to a wider group of low-income parents. It says that some good things are happening, but there is no consistent strategy. It says: “There needs to be a clear plan which engages fully with local authorities and the various types of early education provider. This
should be backed with significant investment”.

The report also talks about a number of other issues, including child poverty and the need for clear and transparent analysis to demonstrate how changes in income, living costs and welfare jointly impact poverty.

Meanwhile, a poll from the Fawcett Society has found a lot of support for care workers’ wages to be improved. Seventy-two per cent say that care workers are underpaid for the work they do. Three quarters (76%) say they should get paid at least the living wage of £9.30 per hour (£10.75 in London) for their work, rising to 9 out of 10 Conservative-voting women (88%). Eight out of ten (79%) agree that they should be entitled to decent terms and conditions and seven out of ten (69%) say that those who help people in their homes should get paid for travel between their appointments.

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