Two in five mothers feel prohibited from returning to work due to the high cost of childcare, even with Jeremy Hunt’s expanded childcare offering, a new survey of mothers has revealed.
“Nursery and childminder costs can swallow a huge chunk of new parents’ earnings, and with the current cost of living crisis squeezing every household’s budget, it’s no surprise that some women are put off going back to work,” said Novo Constare, chief executive of Indeed Flex who issued the report.
One third of working mothers surveyed reported spending over 30 per cent of their wages on childcare, Constare said.
This is not all too surprising: a report by the OECD found that professional childcare in the UK is one of the most expensive systems in the developed world.
In the UK, a couple earning two-thirds of the average income, with two children aged two and three, can spend 25 per cent of their salary on childcare versus nine per cent in France and one per cent in Germany.
The report compounds the need for greater support for working parents that was emphasised by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt last month.
Hunt’s Spring Budget expanded the number of hours of free childcare offered to parents. Currently, parents who work 16 plus hours a week and earn less than £100,000 are entitled to 30 hours free childcare per week for children aged three to four.
From September 2025, working parents of children under the age of five will be entitled to 30 hours free childcare per week in what the government described as “a transformational change that will make a difference to families across the country”.
Around two in five mothers surveyed by Indeed Flex seemed to agree – saying that the government’s help would be enough to get them back into work.
Equally, however, a similar proportion of mothers believed that despite all the additional support, childcare was still “too expensive”.
Constare said: “It is encouraging that the government recognises the childcare dilemma…
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