Childcare Costs Become a Socioeconomic Barrier

The cost of childcare is often cited as one of the biggest challenges to parents entering or returning to work. According to research conducted by the charity 4 Children in 2018, 40% of UK working parents felt that the cost of childcare was so high that it had prevented them from taking up a job opportunity. The study also found that 56% said they could not take on extra hours when offered unless their employer-provided financial support for childcare costs.

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For many families, these costs can seem impossible to overcome. If the average full-time nursery place for a child aged two or over costs around £8,000 per year — and even more in some areas — it can seem like there’s no way for single parents or those on low incomes to take up a job that pays enough to cover the costs of childcare.

However, there are some options available for struggling families. The government’s Tax-Free Childcare scheme provides support by topping up payments into a designated account which can be used to pay registered childcare providers. Working families may also be eligible for financial help through Universal Credit and other benefits, as well as employer support such as vouchers or direct payment schemes.

While it may seem like an uphill struggle, with the right guidance and access to the right resources, parents of young children facing prohibitive childcare costs may still be able to find ways to return to work.

What do you think of the costs?

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