When WE sat down with people across the country to design our policies, one thing came back loud and clear: the costs of childcare are holding women back. Childcare costs are the biggest barrier to mothers returning to work for many parents, the rising cost of childcare makes it difficult to make ends meet. We are challenging Labour’s leadership candidates to champion childcare with a costed, time-bound commitment for investment.
We call on Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith to show their commitment to gender equality: Pledge to invest in affordable childcare with a costed plan and time frame for delivery.
Affordable childcare would transform lives across the UK - and transform our economy too. A two per cent increase in government spending in care could create 1.5 million jobs, and evidence shows a ten per cent increase in the number of mothers working would give our economy an immediate boost of £1.5 billion. High-quality affordable childcare would also help close the gender pay gap, which in London alone means that women earn £70 billion less than men every year.
The average childcare bill for families in the UK has reached £6000 per year. The current government has committed to expanding free childcare available to 3 and 4 year olds - but we’ve seen no efforts to plug the long gap from the end of paid parental leave at 9 months and a child’s 3rd birthday. It is even more expensive to provide good quality childcare for younger children, and these high costs are pushing too many new mothers out of work and into poverty.
WE are calling on Labour’s leadership contenders to commit to investing in childcare. WE are challenging Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith to adopt our costed plan to make childcare available to all children from the end of paid parental leave at 9 months. The first 15 hours a week – where the educational benefits of childcare for children are clearest – will be free, with the rest payable at £1 an hour by parents, which would lower childcare bills to less than £15 a week for families that opt for 30 hours of childcare. This would radically improve the standard of living for millions of families across the UK.
Get behind our pledge and call on the next Labour leader to make childcare affordable from parental leave to primary. Tweet your support, using the hashtag #childcarechallenge to see if Labour will make the difference.
Here's a couple of sample tweets to get you started:
Will @jeremycorbyn & @owensmith2016 show commitment to gender equality & pledge to invest in affordable childcare? http://www.womensequality.org.uk/childcare_challenge_news
WE set the @UKLabour leadership contenders a #childcarechallenge - will they show commitment to gender equality? http://www.womensequality.org.uk/childcare_challenge_news
Read our news story here.