A charitable study suggested that more than half of mothers with children age 11 and under had to cut back their working hours due to childcare expenses.
Save the Children said their online surveys found that 54% of mothers were in this situation, with 40% saying they or their partner would work more if child care became more affordable.
A YouGov survey of 2,008 UK parents of children of primary school age or younger found that the cost of childcare affected 56% of the parents who responded, with nearly half (47%) saying they had refused to work because of caring responsibilities children.
The charity said most parents using paid childcare surveyed (73%) had either already seen a fee increase or expect one to come this year.
About 16% of mothers surveyed said they would move to work if child care became affordable, while a quarter of the 204 fathers surveyed with universal credit said they would move to work if child care was affordable.
Save the Children is calling on the government to introduce a grant-based scheme to cover childcare costs for the first month in advance or to expand and reform the tax-free childcare offering with an affordable hourly scheme that subsidizes costs for parents, including those on Universal. credit.
It also calls for the charity to ensure affordable and accessible childcare from the end of parental leave until the end of primary school.
Becca Lyon, Head of Child Poverty at Save the Children UK, described the survey findings as “a wake-up call – the childcare system in England is not working with parents, children or service providers”.
She added: “The chancellor needs to take urgent action on childcare in next week’s budget. A simple and effective change could be to adjust the way people on Universal Credit pay for childcare.
“They are currently being paid in advance, with low-income families waiting up to a month for support. This system makes it impossible for many to commute to work, or traps those who are in debt.”
The government has previously stated that it recognizes the financial pressures families and service providers face in the early years, and has spent more than £20 billion over the past five years to support families with the cost of childcare.
Save the Children said it surveyed 1,681 parents in England, 112 in Wales, 158 in Scotland and 57 in Northern Ireland.
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