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High cost of childcare locking single parents out of work

The high cost of childcare is preventing many single parents from holding jobs

Thousands of London’s single parents are being locked out of employment due to the high cost of childcare, according to a new report by Gingerbread.

Analysis by the national charity for single parent families reveals that half of single parents are forced to borrow money in order to meet the high cost of childcare in the capital.

And when it comes to returning to work, many single parents have to factor in that cost, often leaving them little choice but to reduce their hours or be forced out of work altogether. In 2015, one in six single parents in London were under-employed, that is those working part-time but want to increase their hours.

In order to address this challenge, Gingerbread is calling on the London mayoral candidates to endorse Upfront: A childcare Deposit Guarantee, a campaign that would see parents supported into the jobs market.

Designed to support parents about to start a new job or increase their working hours, Upfront would help parents arrange care for their children ahead of their first pay cheque, with the GLA directly paying the deposits nurseries and child minders typically require.

Other key findings of Gingerbread’s analysis include:

  • Half of single parents surveyed said they had to borrow money from friends, family, or banks to pay for childcare in the past two years
  • In 2015, one in six single parents in London (16%) was under-employed
  • A five percentage point rise in single parents’ employment rates could generate £436m a year to the Exchequer with a combination of reduced benefits (£272m) and increased tax revenue (£164m)
  • 4,500 single parents in London will miss out on the government’s 30 hours of free childcare provision
  • 24,000 single parents of pre-school children in London will for the first time be required to look for work or risk having their benefits sanctioned.