Government urged to help Newham families facing high childcare costs
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Families in Newham face being forced out of work due to high childcare costs, a report published this week shows.
According to the Family and Childcare Trust study, a family in the borough with one child at primary school and one at nursery could pay an average of £19,195 per year in childcare bills meaning someone with a full time job earning the London Living Wage on a salary of £19,012 would lose money.
The figures, based on an average cost of £264 per week for a full time nursery place and childminder costs averaging £104 per week in outer London, led city and east London assembly member Unmesh Desai to call on the government to intervene.
“It is vital parents are able to make their own choice about how they want to organise childcare, and not be forced to either stay at home or go back to work because of the high cost of childcare,” he said.
“The government put childcare at the heart of their manifesto – they must now step in to ensure it is affordable, flexible and available to all who need it.”
The London Asembly commented that although two-year-olds are eligible for free childcare if they have special educational needs or the family receives tax credits, in outer London only about a quarter of local authorities have enough places for children entitled to the free offer.
In Newham, there are approximately 28,700 children aged under five and 34,000 aged five to 11.
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According to the Family and Childcare Trust, many local authorities also have concerns about availability ahead of the roll out of increased entitlement to free child care for working parents of three and four-year-olds later this year.
A Department for Education spokesman said: “Helping working families with the cost of childcare is at the heart of this government’s agenda – that’s why we are investing a record £6 billion per year by 2020.
“The government has a package of support for parents, which includes doubling our free childcare offer for three and four year olds to 30 hours a week, saving families around £5,000 per year. A number of areas are delivering the 30 hours offer a year early which is benefitting over four thousand parents already, many of whom do not work the traditional 9-5.”