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TUC Highlights 'Childcare Gap' For Parents With One-Year-Olds
photo by Quinn Dombrowski
The cost of childcare for young children has risen more than four times faster than wages since 2008, according to new analysis published by the TUC today (Friday).

The analysis reveals that in England the average wages of those with a one-year-old child rose by 12% in cash terms - although pay is still falling in real terms - between 2008 and 2016. However, over the same period, childcare costs shot up by 48%.

And in some parts of the UK the cost of childcare has risen by even more - in London childcare has risen 7.4 times more quickly than pay, in the East Midlands 7 times, and in West Midlands 4.8 times.

While there is government support for childcare for children aged two and older, most working parents with one-year-olds do not get any state help with childcare costs.

And as around 950,000 working parents across the UK have a child aged one, these rising costs have huge implications for family budgets, warns the TUC, as parents are spending an increasing portion of their pay on childcare.

photo by D Sharon Pruitt
In England:

A single parent working full-time with a one-year-old in nursery for 21 hours a week spent more than a fifth (21%) of their wages on childcare in 2016, up from around a 6th (17%) in 2008.
One parent working full-time and one parent working part-time with a one-year-old in nursery for 21 hours a week spent a 7th (14%) of their salary on childcare in 2016, up from around a 10th (11%) in 2008.
Two parents working full-time with a one-year-old in nursery for 21 hours a week spent around a 10th (11%) of their wages on childcare in 2016, up from around a 13th (8%) in 2008.

photo by Janet McKnight
The analysis also shows pressure is even greater on parents working full-time, especially single parents. A single mum or dad with a young child in nursery for 40 hours a week would need to spend two-fifths (40%) of their pay on childcare - showing how difficult it is to balance work and family life without working fewer hours or getting support from friends and family.

TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said:

"The cost of childcare is spiralling but wages aren't keeping pace. Parents are spending more and more of their salaries on childcare, and the picture is even worse for single parents.

"Nearly a million working parents with one-year-old kids have eye-watering childcare bills. There is a real gap in childcare support for one-year-olds until government assistance kicks in at age two.

"Parents need subsidised, affordable childcare from as soon as maternity leave finishes to enable them to continue working, and so mums don't continue to have to make that choice between having a family and a career."

Ellen Broome, Chief Executive at the Family and Childcare Trust, said:

"Childcare is as vital as the rails and roads to making our country run: it boosts children's outcomes, supports parents to work and provides our economy with a reliable workforce.

"For too many parents, however, high childcare costs mean that it does not pay to work. Low-income families claiming Universal Credit typically take home just £1.96 per hour after childcare costs have been paid, and some get even less than this. We must make sure every parent is better off working after childcare costs."

To address this increasing pressure on working families, the TUC would like to see:

Universal free childcare from the end of maternity leave. This would help single parents and families - especially younger mums and dads with less seniority and lower pay - to stay in work and progress their careers after having children.
More government funding for local authorities to provide nurseries and child care.
A greater role for employers in funding childcare. Either through direct subsidy to employees or the provision of on-site childcare facilities.

TUC Highlights 'Childcare Gap' For Parents With One-Year-Olds , 20th October 2017, 16:01 PM