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High childcare costs 'not the way to run the economy'

High childcare costs are "not the way to operate a modern economy" and a combined effort from the Government, teachers and employers to find a solution, a family expert has said.

Trust chief executive Anand Shukla, said:

A combination of unaffordable prices, lack of holiday childcare and inflexible employers is not only causing stress for parents, but it's bad for the economy.

Most parents have no choice but to work, and should not have to take sick days to manage childcare.

This is not the way to operate a modern economy, and this is why we are calling on employers and head teachers to help parents manage the school holidays, and on government for a new childcare strategy that properly represents the realities working families face today.

– Anand Shukla


Childcare prices 'highest in the south east'

Parents living in the south east of England can expect to hand over the most cash for childcare, a report has found.

According to the Family and Childcare Trust and Netmums:

  • The weekly cost in the south east is £140.88 on average.
  • Families in the North West have the lowest average weekly holiday childcare costs at £103.38.
  • In Wales holiday childcare costs £109.66 on average, and in Scotland it is £104.28.
  • A survey of parents conducted by parenting website Netmums and the Trust found that around 17% said that they had to take days off work sick last year to cover childcare.
  • This represents almost a million working days lost, the Trust said, which it claims costs the economy almost £100 million each year.

Holiday childcare costs 'over £100 every week'

Parents are forced to hand over more than £100 per week for holiday childcare during the summer holidays, according to a study.

The cost of holiday care is around 1.7% more expensive than last year, the survey says. Credit: PA

The Family and Childcare Trust's annual holiday childcare report said working mums and dads were forking out £114.51 on average to keep their child occupied.

The report suggested holiday childcare is becoming increasingly expensive, with families facing differences in cost depending on where they live.

One in six parents admitted to calling in sick last year so they could look after their youngsters during the summer break.

Others had to go so far as to give up their jobs in order to care for their children.

Using schools for childcare 'just makes sense'

Using school facilities during the summer holidays as a means of childcare "just makes sense" for a lot of parents, the head of a children's charity told Good Morning Britain.

Chief executive of 4Children Anne Longfield said it was something parents could rely on.

It's not school as we know it. It's not formal classroom school. It's about taking part of the school and transforming it into a great place to be.

– Anne Longfield

Govt: Over 116,000 'already accessing free childcare'

Some 116,000 youngsters are already using the 15 hours of free childcare they are entitled to from the Government, a Department of Education spokesman said.

The DfE rebuffed claims more needed to be done to tackle growing demand and said:

Over 116,000 eligible children are already accessing 15 hours of free childcare a week and we have now extended this to a further 240,000 two year olds from September.

We have also introduced tax free childcare - up to £2,000 per child and for working families on the lowest incomes up to 85% of childcare costs are to be met under universal credit.

We are encouraging new childcare providers to enter the system, while cutting red tape for current ones and making it easier for school nurseries to open from 8-6, with over 800,000 places in schools, to help ensure parents can have what they want.

– Department of Education spokesman


Charity warns of 'one childcare place for every 15 kids'

A childcare crisis is looming this summer, with only one place for every 15 kids across the UK, a charity has found.

High demand is expected for childcare places this summer. Credit: PA

4Children wants schools to open across the summer holidays so youngsters have somewhere safe to go while their parents are at work.

The children's and family charity say there are just 450,000 places in holiday clubs or with childminders available to the 6.8million children aged four and 14-years-old. This equates to one place for every 15 children.

4Children also wanted to see the Government build on free entitlements for two, three and four-year-olds, so older children can access affordable, high quality childcare from the end of parental leave until school.

There are 'more grandparents at school than parents'

A grandmother who cares for her three grandchildren on a daily basis said there were "more grandparents than parents" dropping off youngsters at the school gate, as families struggle with the cost of childcare.

Angie Bostwick told Good Morning Britain says she sees "more of my grandchildren than I did my own children", admits to being pushover but said she "loves" looking after the youngest members of the family.

1.9m grandparents took leave 'to care for grandchildren'

Some 1.9 million grandparents have been forced to give up a job, reduce their working hours or taken holiday to care for their grandchildren, it has emerged.

These figures suggest that grandparents have given a total of £8bn in the past year for a range of grandchildren's needs. Credit: PA

According to an Ipsos Mori poll commissioned by charities Grandparents Plus, Save the Children, and The Family and Childcare Trust, elderly relatives are cutting into their work to provide free childcare.

Expert pointed to the rise in childcare - 27%, as the root cause behind the growth in elderly childcare.

The survey also found grandparents were spending 12% of 1,000 on their grandchildren every year, with a further 17% spending between £500 and £1,000.

SNP childcare plans 'leave 21,000 job shortfall'

Plans by the Scottish government to get more women into work by providing free childcare involve "wishful thinking" in their costing, the Treasury has said.

The SNP has pledged to provide all three and four-year-olds, and vulnerable two-year-olds, with 1,140 hours of childcare per year by 2020.

It estimates that the policy could result in about 104,000 women entering employment and an additional £700 million in tax revenue which would help pay for the additional childcare.

But Treasury analysts said of the mothers affect by the policy only around 83,000 are not employed.

Even if every mother out of work moved into work - in itself highly unlikely - there would still be a shortfall of 21,000.

– Treasury analysts

A spokesman for Scotland's Finance Secretary John Swinney said:

In terms of our childcare commitments and boosting the number of women in work, it is our commitment to stop wasting money on Trident and on contributing to the running costs of Westminster that gives us the ability to invest in these other priorities.

– A spokesman for Scotland's Finance Secretary John Swinney
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