Vast majority of parents have not planned summer holiday childcare

Some 85% of parents have not yet planned holiday childcare for the summer, according to a poll.

Some 85% of parents have not yet planned holiday childcare for the summer, according to a poll.

The poll of over 450 working mums found six per cent say they don't need childcare. Two per cent are using holiday clubs and camps, 3% are relying on family, 1% are using a childminder, 1% are sharing care with their partner and 2% are using a mix of family and formal childcare.

Many mums said money was a big issue. One said: "After completing a six-month maternity cover contract at the end of January, I have since qualified as a legal secretary but am having trouble finding part time work. Despite that, I have had to enrol my two children in after school club, at a cost of £7 each per session, to give me the flexibility I need to apply for jobs with varying hours and days of employment. I had some temp work for a couple of weeks leading up to half term and hoped this would go on longer and so booked my kids into holiday camp for half term, but the temp booking finished just before. Luckily I had enough time to postpone the holiday club booking until the six weeks' holiday without losing any of the £99 paid, and I'm working at the same place again in July so can use the holiday club days then. I'm struggling to pay for these clubs, but have no choice. I have to be able to say I'm available to work when the call comes. It's a nightmare. The government wants us to go back to work, but they haven't addressed the shortage of part-time jobs. The temp booking I did recently was full time and while it was fine for those couple of weeks, it was tough on my family so I can't do full time on a long-term basis. I'm not lucky enough to have family around to help so part time is the only option."

Some with several children are resorting to au pairs. Others are planning to work more flexibly over the summer so they can access subsidised holiday schemes that don't run for full days or make sharing playdates with friends more feasible.

Those on lower earnings can claim tax credits to help with childcare costs just for the short time they need the childcare for, for instance, for a fixed period over the summer holidays. They need to use a registered or approved childcare provider to qualify. A form can be obtained through the Tax Credit Helpline on 0345 300 3900. 

Childcare vouchers can also be used for childcare for children up to the age of at least 15.  That includes after school activities and summer childcare. The voucher scheme works by allowing mums and dads whose employer offers the scheme to buy childcare vouchers directly from their gross salary – before tax and national insurance are deducted. The childcare provider needs to be registered. If both mother and father's workplaces are part of a voucher scheme the money saved can be doubled.

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