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High childcare costs making it impossible for families to escape poverty, says report

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High childcare costs making it impossible for families to escape poverty, says report

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Communities, Finance

High childcare costs making it impossible for families to escape poverty, says report High childcare costs making it impossible for families to escape poverty, says report

The Government should increase the proportion of childcare costs covered through Universal Credit from 70 to 80% to help poorer families, a new report claims.

Barnardo’s 'Paying to Work' report claims that it is "impossible" for some of the UK's poorest families to get out of poverty due to high childcare costs that leave many parents earning nothing or even effectively paying for the privilege of working extra hours.

The children's charity says that all three and four-year-olds, and many disadvantaged two-year-olds, are entitled to fifteen hours of free early years education - but parents wishing to work longer hours face paying for childcare at the same time as having their benefits reduced, and starting to pay tax.

This combination, the report suggests, will potentially leave some parents with very little money left over.

The report reveals that:

  • Lone parents with two preschool children will potentially have to pay to go to work. A lone parent with two preschool children living in London will pay £1.61 per hour more than they earn if they work 28 hours or more.
  • Lone parents with only one preschool child still face losing substantial amounts of pay for extra hours worked. For each extra hour worked between 16 and 24, a lone parent with one preschool child on the National Minimum Wage, would potentially gain only £1.10.

Barnardo’s chief executive, Anne Marie Carrie, said: "The Government’s claim that work will pay for the UK’s most disadvantaged families under Universal Credit is simply wrong.

"Leaving the poorest without sufficient means to pay for childcare ironically risks pricing precisely those families who are in greatest need of the extra income out of work.

"If we want the poorest parents to be genuinely able to work their way out of poverty, then they must be able to afford the costs of childcare. This is why we’re calling on the government to provide more help to the most disadvantaged families."

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