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Ineffective childcare policies stopped more than 300,000 parents returning to work in 2014, costing taxpayers £1.8 billion, according to the annual childcare report of Findababysitter.com.
The report found that, although parents’ trust in the government has increased by 9% (18% in 2013 / 25% in 2014 / 27% in 2015), 49% still say it is not doing enough. The age bracket least impressed with the government’s efforts is 25-34 year olds with over half (53%) saying that they are not doing enough.
The top five regions where parents think the government should be doing more when it comes to childcare are Scotland, London and the East Midlands where 56-57% believe the government should be doing more.
The report says that since 2013 there has been a 3% rise in parents who are employed part-time or full-time, with 80% now being employed.
However, a quarter (25%) of all unemployed mums in the UK say they would like to work, but childcare costs are stopping them.
Younger parents need the most help returning to work, says the report. Just over a quarter of all unemployed parents aged 25-34 say they would like to work, but can’t afford the childcare, affecting approximately 118,777 parents. This is followed closely by 23% of 18-24 year olds, a further 183,965 parents affected, says Findababysitter.com.
The top five cities where unemployed parents would like to work but can’t afford the childcare costs are London, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff and Leeds.
London has the highest number of unemployed parents (39%) compared to Northern Ireland which has the most employed parents (86%).
The more children an unemployed parent has, the less likely they are to work, due to childcare costs with 16% of those with one child wanting to work compared with 44% of those with four or more, up 9% on last year.
The report also asked parents about their attitudes to digital technology. Some 86% said they are keen for their children to use it regularly and 79% thought it helped their child’s development. However, only 60% of childcare professionals said they feel comfortable allowing the children they are responsible for to use digital technology.
Tom Harrow, CEO of Findababysitter.com and dad of two, says: “The last 12 months have seen very little change when it comes to childcare, and the general feeling toward government hasn’t shifted amongst the age group that are most affected – 18-34 year olds.
“In 2015 we want to see more businesses offering better flexible working hours, and treating mums and dads equally when it comes to childcare – it’s a joint responsibility, and that should be reflected in the workplace, especially as the pay gap between males and females continues to reduce – The gender pay gap for all employees, full-time and part-time, in 2014 was the lowest on record at 19.1%, down from 19.8% in 2013.”