Report recognises importance of childcare for working single parents
Gingerbread has launched Caring without Sharing, a report looking at the unique challenges faced by working single parents as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic – including a lack of affordable childcare.
The report makes reference to childcare and its availability during both lockdowns as well as referencing closures due to positive cases as well as for financial reasons. It makes a number of recommendations in relation to childcare:
- The government should create a childcare infrastructure support fund to help stabilise the childcare market and prevent providers from closing
- The government should roll out a national childcare deposit fund to help parents meet any upfront costs of childcare when they enter work, building on the scheme developed by Gingerbread in partnership with the Greater London Authority. This should be universally available and paid from a speci c fund rather than being drawn on a discretionary basis from the Flexible Support Fund
- The DfE should review the childcare caps that were set in 2003, which do not deliver the promised childcare support of up to 85 per cent under UC
- The Department for Work and Pensions should act on the High Court ruling in January 2021 to change the payment structure under UC so that childcare costs are made upfront, rather than in arrears.
Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of NDNA, said: “This report detailing the experiences of single parents through national lockdowns is important because we know just how crucial access to childcare is for them to be able to work and support their families.
“Access has been severely restricted both during the first lockdown but also over the past year with temporary nursery closures due to positive cases and staff self-isolating. We have found that three quarters of nurseries had to close at least one room at least once between November and March.
“We have been campaigning for additional support to the childcare sector, along the lines of Gingerbread’s proposals of a childcare infrastructure support fund, since the start of the pandemic. Our nurseries have been struggling with both lower income as a result of fewer children attending and higher operating costs as they do everything they can to keep children and staff safe.
“These childcare providers need urgent financial support if they are to be able to continue giving children the high quality early education and childcare that they need. Many just aren’t able to do this sustainably and we fear more nurseries will have to close their doors for good. This would be disastrous for children and families who rely on childcare places.
“The Government has talked a lot about a Plan for Jobs, but in order for this to work, we need a realistic and meaningful Plan for Childcare.”
NDNA have been calling for additional financial support to childcare providers since the first lockdown.
Read the full report here.