Majority of parents to take up more work due to free childcare

According to a couple of surveys conducted by The National Day Nurseries Association and another by Netmums. Under the new government plans, to increase free childcare to 30 hours per week, the majority of parents have said they are going to take up the offer.

This suggests that more parents are going to be looking for work once their child is in this childcare programme.

The survey, commissioned by the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), reveals that 65.9% of parents questioned say they would definitely take all of the free hours on offer, while a further 13.7% say they would probably take all of them. Around 15.5% say they would definitely take some of them and 3.2% say they will probably take some of them.

The survey, carried out
on the Netmums parenting website, found that 33% of parents said they were confident they could get the work and 19.4% said they would increase their hours if they could get more work. 19.3% said they would take some of the additional free hours to use for things other than work, such as housework, errands, study or "me time".

The NDNA calculated that based on the surveys findings, with more than 1.3 million three and four-year-olds in England, there are likely to be hundreds of thousands more parents looking for more work.

The association's chief executive, Purnima Tanuku, said "The survey also suggests that reform will encourage more parents to work more hours, bringing the economic boost the Government wants. There could also be a knock-on effect that grandparents, freed up from childcare, may also look for more work."

"extremely important" that the Government works with the childcare sector to introduce the reform.

"For example, 52% of parents are telling us they would rather have fewer hours all year round rather than term-time only," Ms Tanuku said. "Most people's jobs are not term-time only and such a move could help nurseries to create more places more efficiently.

"Expansion of free places presents a huge challenge for nurseries. Funding is critical and it's vital that the increase pledged by the Government is meaningful. Beyond funding, we need to ensure the nursery sector is able to expand its well-trained, professional workforce to meet the new challenge and that providers can create the extra capacity that will be needed."

Netmums editor-in-chief Anne-Marie O'Leary said: "The high - and rising - cost of childcare is one of the biggest factors stopping parents working. And for those parents who do work, on average childcare bills swallow up a third of their income, forcing them to cut back sharply in other areas.

"The proposed 30 free hours should - if properly funded - help make childcare more affordable for parents of three and four-year-olds, improve the choices UK parents have and ensure work pays for many more mums and dads."

A Government spokesman said: "The message is clear - this Government is on the side of working people, helping them get on and supporting them at every stage of life.

"That is exactly why we are pressing ahead with these reforms - so that not a moment is lost in getting on with the task - going further than ever before to help with childcare costs, helping hardworking families and giving people the choice to get into work or work more hours.

"Having the right childcare in place will mean more parents can have genuine choice, security and peace of mind when it comes to being able to support their family."

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