According to a recent report published by IPPR (Institute for Public Policy Research), half a million more mothers could be in work if childcare was cheaper and more flexible. It found that 43% of working parents with 3-4 year olds and 50% with children under 2, are put off from working due to the soaring costs of childcare. IPPR have called for the government to introduce “universally available free childcare” in place of the current voucher scheme or cash benefits. This, they believe, would benefit families by increasing access to childcare, and therefore could see more parents returning to work, which would help boost the economy.
Iain McMath, managing director of Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services, has responded to this report, highlighting the important role of employer-supported childcare schemes. He says that although a move towards universally funded childcare is not the wrong path, it’s important to ensure working parents would actually be better off with free childcare services. A universal system would understandably have to be limited, and could leave parents “without the support and information that HR departments have previously provided.”
McMath continues, “with the current cost of childcare still on the rise, it is hard to imagine a government funded system that will save families up to £1,866 per year, the amount they can currently save using vouchers.”
If your family is not currently saving £1,866 per year, it could be that you’re entitled to take more. Sodexo’s parent calculator makes it simple to check whether you’re claiming as much as you could be. Find out if you could be saving more >>