Over the past few years there have been many arguments in Britain about whether or not it pays to work. Well, it seems as though the, ‘it doesn’t pay to work’ camp has gained another victory with recent findings about the massive cost of childcare compared with the cost of Living.
Childcare vs. Mortgage
According to recent findings by the Family and Childcare Trust, the average family with more than one child is paying more in childcare per year than they are for their mortgage. The cost of having one child in part time child care attending nursery for 25 hours per week and one in an after school club for 15 hours were roughly £7,549 per year. The average cost of a mortgage is £7,200 per year. Full time childcare for two children costing as much as £11,700 per year. This is extremely troubling as although most people’s wages have effectively remained static since 2009, there has been a 27% rise in the cost of childcare since then. Surely with such a massive amount of the weekly wages of two parents being used to pay for childcare, it makes almost no sense for a wife to return to work.
According to the report the current system was not working and: "Children are losing out on vital early education and families remain trapped in poverty because they cannot make work pay. Childcare providers struggle with debts. Women fail to return to the labour market after they have children and the economy loses their skills and their taxes." These words are mirrored by mother Lynne Keeble who was force to give up her job due to the high cost of childcare: "You can’t go to work and then have nothing at the end of the month to show for it,". This woman has made it plain that there is no incentive for many women to return to the work place if they have massive childcare costs to pay. It is better for them to look after the children themselves.
Government vs. Childcare
The government says that it is trying to fix the situation, Education and Childcare minister Elizabeth Truss was adamant about the positive effects of the government reforms to make childcare more affordable saying: "In fact, once inflation is taken into account costs for the majority have actually fallen, This means more parents are able to access affordable childcare and support their families. These reductions contrast with rising costs in Scotland and Wales, highlighting the difference this Government’s reforms are making."
Apparently, costs are now stabilising and there has been a £15 pound drop in cost although, according to the Pre-School Learning Alliance this is "entirely to the efforts of early years providers", government initiatives or schemes played no part whatsoever. And "For the government to attribute this positive trend to their own ’reforms’ is completely disingenuous." It certainly does not seem as though the government have a firm grip on the situation. This becomes extremely evident when you look at the costs of childcare throughout the country:
So with childcare this expensive, can it really make sense for many women to return to the workplace? From the evidence provided above, it certainly seems as though ‘work doesn’t pay’ has won another victory. Are you paying childcare costs or thinking of returning to work? Your thoughts and comments below please…