Workingmums survey shows new free childcare isn't all that great

In the last general election childcare featured prominently, but most of the focus was on early years childcare. The survey, carried out by Workinmums.co.uk, of over 2,300 mums shows childcare for school-aged children is a problem for 57 per cent.

Half say the Government’s focus on increasing free childcare for three and four year olds and its tax-free childcare initiative will not help them. Another issue the survey flagged was the lack of flexible childcare available to working parents - with 41 per cent saying that the childcare options currently available to them were not flexible enough for their needs.

Childcare costs were consistently views as the main barrier stopping mums returning to work. Some 61 per cent of those not currently working said childcare costs were making it difficult for them to return to work. This was up from 57 per cent from last year.

In order to cut down on childcare costs, 45 per cent of respondents said they are reliant on grandparents.

The survey also highlighted that it is still primarily women that take the main carer role in a family. 56 per cent of mums reported that they do more housework and childcare than their partners, compared to 22 per cent who say these tasks are equally shared. Just three per cent said that their partner does more housework/childcare than they do.

Nevertheless, there does seem to be an increasing appetite for sharing care more equally, with 38% saying they would consider Shared Parental Leave – where parental leave after their baby is born is split equally with their partner. This is, however, significantly down on last year’s figure of 44 per cent, which is perhaps linked to a greater awareness of the complexity of the new legislation.

Gillian Nissim, founder of Workingmums.co.uk, said: “The survey results show there are significant problems with the cost and availability of childcare and with the kind of flexible childcare options that parents are increasingly demanding. In the last general election, childcare featured prominently, yet most of the focus was on early years. Childcare for school-aged children consequently remains a particular problem and parents feel that this not being addressed by government policy.”

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