It was encouraging last week to see that Children and Young People Now magazine ran an article which warned the Government that many working families are struggling to keep up with childcare bills.
However, there was also some positive news as this followed an announcement that was welcomed by childcare providers and children’s charities, that £300m will be used to enable parents who work less than 16 hours per week to reclaim childcare costs. The current situation is ridiculous, where parents are actively penalised for working either more or less than 16 hours per week, regardless of what they actually want to work.
Overall changes to tax and benefits for families over the last 18 months have mostly been detrimental to those who want to work, so this is certainly a welcome step. However, the detail of how the Universal Credit will work is still to be published and much lobbying is still taking place to ensure the most disadvantaged are protected and those who want to work really do find it financially worthwhile.
We will keep you updated as details are released and can only hope that families see the benefits of being in work and that childcare can eventually become more affordable for all, without providers having to lower fees by providing lower quality.