There’s far more to Zoe Williams’ comment on the increasing cost of childcare (The Guardian, 12 May 2011). The majority of childcare providers are small independent nurseries who certainly aren’t ‘getting rich’. Many are struggling and indeed a number of nurseries have closed. In addition, some are considering opting out of providing the free entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds because the early years grant doesn’t cover the cost of 15 hours childcare – this problem will only get worse as the 2 year old entitlement is rolled out by 2013. Where will these young children access an early years experience?
There simply isn’t enough good quality childcare in the areas where it’s needed most. For many families the cost of childcare is the biggest monthly outlay after the mortgage or rent. No wonder childcare is a barrier for most women who want to work.
It feels very deja vu as much work has been done over the last few years to find ways of supporting parents with childcare costs including the Childcare Affordability Programme (CAP) in London which was then rolled out to other parts of the country under the last government. The subsidy helped many with the cost of childcare. Unfortunately these pilots have been pulled by the Government along with the reduction in the childcare tax credit.
Amazingly Ministers just don’t seem to get it – probably because the majority of them employ nannies or just don’t need childcare. 18 May 2011