The high cost of childcare in London is keeping many single parents out of work, according to a new study by the charity Gingerbread.
Research by the charity found that single parents in London with children under two are often spending around half their take home pay on childcare. It also showed that half of the single parents surveyed said that they had to borrow money from friends, family or lenders to pay for childcare in the past two years.
When it comes to returning to work, many single parents have to factor in childcare costs, often leaving them with little choice but to reduce their hours or be forced out of work all together.
The latest data published by the Family and Childcare Trust found that the cost of a childcare place in London is about a third higher than the rest of Britain. The average parent in London will pay £158.73 a week for a part-time nursery place for a child aged under two, compared to around £116.77 for the average parent across Britain.
Gingerbread is urging the next Mayor of London to support its ‘Upfront’ campaign designed to support single parents about to start a job or increase their working hours. This would help parents arrange care for their children ahead of their first pay cheque, with the Greater London Authority directly paying the deposits nurseries and childminders typically require.
‘Making childcare affordable is essential’
Fiona Weir, Chief Executive of Gingerbread, said: “On average single parents in London spend half their income after housing costs on a nursery place for a child.
“And for parents of pre-school children, the situation is even more challenging, with little affordable support in place. This, coupled with the tightening-up of eligibility criteria around the 30 hours of free childcare for parents of three and four-year-olds, means significant barriers need to be overcome.
“Making childcare affordable is therefore essential for supporting more single parents back into the jobs market and ensuring that it pays to work. Not least because work is deemed the best route out of poverty.”
Many people who are struggling financially come to Turn2us looking for support. We know that some don’t realise that benefits could be available to them or they have faced barriers in claiming.
In May 2016, we will launch a benefits awareness campaign to address these issues and help more people to access the welfare support that they are entitled to.
If you are bringing up a child, there may be benefits, grants or other financial support available to you. The ‘Bringing up a child' section of our website has information about ways you might be able to get help.
If you are struggling financially, you can also use our Benefits Calculator to check your entitlement to benefits and our Grants Search to see if you are eligible for help from a charitable fund, based on your personal circumstances and needs.
The Your Situation section on our website contains information resources on benefits and grants and a Find an Adviser tool to help you find face-to-face advice in your local area.
Source: Gingerbread press release: High cost of childcare locking many single parents out of work