Period poverty in 2020
Like many other issues, period poverty has been exacerbated by the events of 2020. There has been a clear increase in the amount of people who are unable to access period products during this turbulent time. Period poverty charities report that they are supplying almost six times as many menstrual products since before the pandemic. The recipients of these donations include NHS workers who couldn't access period products due to the number of hours that they were spending at work.
Despite the UK providing free period products in schools and some universities, the closure of these public places during the lockdown in March created further problems for those unable to purchase their own sanitary towels and tampons. While the country remains in uncertainty as we move into 2021, those with periods can’t predict if they will be able to access the products they need.
Free period products in Scotland
In a glimmer of hope in 2020, at the end of November the Scottish government approved a bill that would make period products free throughout Scotland. Following surveys that found that one in four girls in education have struggled to access period products – and the lobbying of Labour MSP Monica Lennon – the necessity of this cause was recognised and the bill was passed. Instead of it being an individual’s decision to provide period products in public places, it is now a legal duty to provide them to anybody who needs them. This marks a decisive step towards ending period poverty for girls in Scotland, and around the world.
Where is the UK in tackling period poverty?
This victory for women in Scotland leads us to ask: what is being done in the rest of the UK to tackle this pressing issue? In the UK, 1 in 10 girls can’t afford period products – and this has only increased during the events of this year.
In 2019, period products were made available in schools and colleges in England. This scheme helps those experiencing period poverty, but does not cover universities, apprenticeships or time spent out of school. Period poverty is clearly not limited to school term times or those in education, and therefore the UK government must follow Scotland in providing free period products to anyone who needs them. The government has stated that the current period product scheme will continue into 2021, but have made no indication of its necessary extension due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The WEP phrase ‘Build Back Equal’ has never been more relevant: women have again been disproportionately affected when it comes to period poverty.
If you’re interested in helping to fight period poverty close to home, then Leeds-based charity Freedom4Girls are making a difference in Leeds and around the world. This charity wants to end worldwide period poverty. They are focused on addressing the different factors of period poverty and working against them in order to make the most difference. They focus on education to reduce the stigma that surrounds periods, as well as donating products to those who need them. Freedom4Girls use donation stations around Leeds and the UK to provide free period products to those who can’t afford them.
12 female-fronted businesses you should know about this festive season (and all year round!)
Challenges have rolled in thick and fast in 2020 – among them the unique pressures faced by female entrepreneurs to keep their businesses alive and thriving despite all things pandemic.
An Institute for Fiscal Studies report found that UK mums are one and a half times more likely to have quit or lost their job during lockdown as dads. Add to that the fact that – on average – women spent more than double the amount of time home-schooling their children when the Covid-19 restrictions were in full force, and you begin to see why the strain on women is so great.
We all know going into business takes time, energy and money, things that have been in short supply this year – especially for women, whose small businesses contribute a whacking great £85 billion to the UK economy. Despite that hefty sum, female founding teams are half as likely to be in a positive situation after the pandemic compared to mixed-gender or all-male ones.
What are we trying to say? In a nutshell, female-led enterprises need our support. Christmas is a key trading time for many independent businesses, and with fewer people heading to the physical shops this year, shopping around online is more important than ever.
Here in Leeds, WEP is supporting small local businesses with our very own ‘12 Days of Christmas’ (well, maybe 13, if you’re lucky). Each day for the first couple of weeks in December, we’re throwing the spotlight on a different female-helmed company – sharing their products on social and encouraging shoppers to check out their wares.
From sweet treats to essential oils, handmade jewellery to bespoke prints, there’s a diverse range of products to suit every taste. And the best part? When you buy from these indies, you’re not only supporting the local Leeds economy, you’re helping your entrepreneurial sisters thrive too.
Holly Rothwell, our Branch Policy and Research Officer, said: “As we come together as a community to ‘Build Back Equal’ from the havoc 2020 has caused to our local economy, it is vital that women-led businesses, which were increasing in number pre-pandemic, are supported to continue providing employment for local people.”
Check out the lovely list of businesses we’re supporting – perfect for a browse, a Christmas gift or a spontaneous treat. Because let’s face it, we all deserve one of those right now!
A range of heavenly diffusers, oils – and even the odd Christmas card.
2. Miss Helen’s
Delicious, bespoke cakes for every occasion and taste – all homemade by passionate Leeds baker, Helen Strange.
Emily Camara’s stunning range of handmade earrings made from polymer clay.
Check out Laveeza Zahid’s positivity prints – guaranteed to keep you smiling through Christmas and well into the new year.
5. SPACE PxSSY
Fun, feminist prints from designer Charlotte Haych.
A selection of beautiful, modern embroidery pieces made by Mari using modern and traditional techniques.
Playful, handmade statement jewellery from Leeds crafter, Laura.
Unique zines, patches, prints and pin badges from talented Yorkshire illustrator, Kristyna Baczynski.
9. Bobbi Rae UK
Unique, contemporary illustrations from self-proclaimed one-woman-show, Bobbi Rae.
A range of indie gifts – from jewellery and bubble bath to homeware, clothing and prints.
Visit Soraya Joof’s bookstore to find children’s books promoting positive black images, cultural diversity, confidence and self-love.
Afro-Deity produces handmade micro batches of 100% natural, organic body butters in West Yorkshire using cold pressed coconut oil, virgin shea butter, pomegranate seed oil and steam distilled essential oils. There are six blends available, including Mother Nature (an essential oil-free blend for extra sensitive skin), Divine Feminine (with lemon, patchouli and ylang ylang), Sweet Dreams (with lavender and roman chamomile) - and more. Each luxurious body butter is available in three sizes: a 5ml sample pot for £1.20, a 100ml size at £6.50 and a 190ml size for £12
And one for luck, because after all – it is Christmas.
Beautiful bespoke cakes made by talented baker/decorator, Leilani – with the odd cameo from her entrepreneur sister, 12-year-old Avaiyia, whose business The Kookie Kid is already making waves.
Reported cases of domestic abuse and gender-based violence have soared during the Covid-19 crisis. As the ‘stay-at-home’ order reached households across the nation, for many, the words meant more than simply forgoing meet ups with friends or trips to the shops. For thousands in the UK and around the world, home isn’t a place of safety – and the social, financial and psychological pressures of the pandemic have only exacerbated the risk of reversing decades of progress in the fight against inequality.
The impact of 2020
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) has escalated in 2020 due to a number of pandemic-related factors, including food shortages, unemployment, economic insecurity, school closures, massive migration flows and the threat of civil unrest. Cases of female genital mutilation, sexual abuse and femicide have risen, while support organisations and shelters struggle to provide the services now in demand at greater scale. Action is needed now to address these issues and support the thousands of people they impact and threaten every day.
With the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women just behind us (November 25), WE is standing with several concurrent campaigns to call for progressive, protective steps in the name of survivors. With the festive period just ahead of us and restrictions in place across the UK, it’s more important than ever to unite in our mission to stop VAWG.
The 16 Days Campaign
The Global 16 Days Campaign is the world’s longest-running campaign to end violence against women. Launched by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership back in 1991, it runs every year from November 25 to December 10 (International Human Rights Day). Its demand? For gender-based violence (GBV) to be eliminated.
As the start and end dates so clearly signify, the 16 Days Campaign is underpinned by human rights and feminist principles. It’s reached more than 300 million people since 1991, being used by a diverse range of
organisations to raise awareness and drive action around ending GBV.
Orange the World
In a powerful move of solidarity, the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence Against Women campaign is recognising 16 Days with a concept to amplify the call for global action to increase awareness, galvanise advocacy efforts and share knowledge. Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect! builds on global initiatives ‘Generation Equality’, and 'Gender Based Action Coalition'. Its four key principles lay out the basic necessities of flexible funding, zero-tolerance prevention, adequate, explicit response, and the ongoing collection of data to improve services.
With a survivor centred, multi-sectoral approach, Orange the World aims to leave no one behind. Its signature orange colour symbolises unity, strength and solidarity – you might have seen in lighting up buildings and landmarks across the world on 25 November.
Here in the UK, the Government has done little to stop the preventable suffering of women during the Covid-19 crisis. That’s why WE are calling for:
- Guaranteed funding for specialist services to support women and girls suffering violence
- The introduction of an affirmative consent law
- Urgent reform of the justice service
- Access to services for migrant women with insecure status
Join the conversation
We’ll be tweeting about these topics over the coming weeks and months, so follow us to keep up to date and use the hashtag #EndVAWG to join the conversation. The WEP UK Academy supports women in finding their voice and campaigning to end VAWG. You can support this through our Crowdfunder here.
Support for Leeds Women’s Aid
WE are asking you to fight domestic violence and abuse in Leeds by supporting Leeds Women’s Aid. They support hundreds of women and families every year, aiming to give survivors and sufferers of GBV the confidence and strength to find safety and independence.
During the pandemic, Leeds Women’s Aid have seen helpline calls double and referrals increase by more than 60 percent. To make sure as many people as possible feel safe to use their services, the charity has launched a confidential chat service – a critical resource during the pandemic.
Childcare is crucial to the fabric of society. Getting it right means healthier, happier children and adults who are more able to work, provide good incomes and have better mental health. But our society isn’t designed like that. There are cracks in the system as a result of years of underfunding, and the Covid-19 crisis has only made matters worse. We need to take action now.
Why does it matter?
A lack of flexible, affordable childcare has a negative impact on both children’s development and parents’ employability. With costs often high and working patterns variable, childcare is one of the biggest blockers when it comes to adults entering or re-entering the workplace. And children feel the impact of this strain too, with care from adults who (through no fault of their own) are often stressed, tired or struggling with mental health.
Issues around childcare are especially significant for single parents or those without a support circle available. A survey by single parent family charity, Gingerbread, reports that almost half of parents have had to borrow from friends, family or formal lenders to cover childcare costs, showing the link between financial insecurities and childcare that just doesn’t measure up.
When 90 percent of UK single mothers are women, the far-reaching impact of inadequate childcare provision becomes clearer. In a government survey, non-working mothers were more likely to cite childcare issues as the main reason they couldn’t work. And with women at a disadvantage when it comes to getting into the workplace, gender imbalances precipitate and top positions are more likely to be filled by men.
What about Covid?
The pandemic has only laid bare the impact of inadequate childcare on families across the UK. In a year of school closures, financial uncertainty and myriad other social, emotional and physical pressures, securing adequate childcare has become more difficult than ever, with deprived areas suffering disproportionately.
A third of parents have struggled to find childcare since the first UK lockdown was lifted, with half of those with children under five saying the government hasn’t done enough to help them access the support they need during the crisis. A survey by Trades Union Congress found the pandemic has had an especially adverse effect on working mothers, 41 percent of whom with children under 10 are now struggling to find childcare that will allow them to work. This has led to one in six women having to cut working hours to fill the gap.
What do we need?
The UK is facing a childcare crisis. Women are at greater risk of being pushed out of the workforce, falling into financial difficulty and facing mental health issues. And with a quarter of childcare providers fearing closure next year, immediate action is needed to prevent the situation becoming much worse.
We believe every child and parent has the right to flexible, affordable childcare. It’s the key to a thriving and resilient society – in Leeds and across the UK. We’re calling for fundamental changes to the system. Changes that will enable the provision of high-quality, responsible childcare where it’s needed most. But to campaign effectively, we need your views.
We’ve created a three-minute survey to gather the childcare experiences of parents, non-parents and employers in Leeds. When we’ve got the information, we’ll use it to strengthen the case for change and help key decision makers think urgently and realistically about a new model for childcare.
With face-to-face gatherings off the cards, the third Women’s Equality Party Conference faced a new challenge. But like every other obstacle 2020 has thrown our way, we weren’t about to let that stop us. Attendees came together virtually, using an app to access the all-singing, all-dancing conference experience completely remotely. From 15th to 18th of October, ticket holders joined Zoom sessions, watched webinars, giggled at comedy sessions, voted on motions and looked on as a vibrant range of speakers poured their hearts out on screen.
This year’s theme was Build Back Equal. It was a shift of perspective on ‘Build Back Better’ – a phrase embedded in 2020’s lexicon, often used to reference economic recovery and championed by UK non-profit, Green New Deal UK. But being part of WEP means acknowledging that improvement is futile without equal footing to begin with. Growth, be it economic, social, cultural or otherwise, means little if it comes from a place of injustice – and that’s what Conference boldly endeavoured to take on.
At a time when so many of us feel starved of connection and community, the four days went some way to conjure that sense of togetherness. Conversations blossomed, supportive comments piled up, and while physical closeness was missing, that galvanising empowerment of Conference wasn’t hard to tap into. This – as Chief of Staff, Hannah Peaker so rightly asserted – was to be the beating heart of the party. Time to forge a new consensus about our future – to take on the challenge of rebuilding, remodelling and reimagining a world in which systems work to champion the rights of women. It was never going to be easy, but with 60 speakers and over 1,000 feminists logged in and fired up to take on the future together, we were ready to give it a damn good go.
The programme opened with a look back at the progress and achievements of our party over the last two years, with the first day featuring everything from Cynthia Enloe’s pioneering feminist critique of militarizing Covid-19, to cocktail making in the name of the late, great Ruth Bader Ginsburg. We witnessed Mandu Reid’s first ever leadership speech and learnt that real change begins with building new economic systems that work for women. We witnessed an earth-shattering spoken word performance from Miss Yankey and Yasmin Ali, and heard powerful insights on how we can stop so many Black women dying in childbirth.
This year’s Conference headliner was prolific feminist writer and activist, Laura Bates. As founder of the ground-breaking Everyday Sexism Project, she’s done critical work in the name of uncovering the unspoken depths of misogyny in the UK and beyond. She joined Mandu on Saturday evening to talk about the subject of her new book, Men Who Hate Women. The discussion delivered a chilling glimpse into a dangerous online world where this kind of hatred can flourish.
To write the book, Laura went undercover. Posing as ‘Alex’, a young man searching the internet for answers, she was able to enter subreddits and forums where toxic misogyny is rife.
She was shocked by the violence and language she encountered, but what spurred her to begin writing was her experience in schools. Travelling to classrooms around the country, Laura discovered young boys repeating the same sets of wrong statistics and skewed claims about feminism, rape allegations and white male victimhood. She spoke of the kind of radicalisation that would be cast out immediately under any other belief system, highlighting the link between anti-feminist forums and white supremacist grooming.
“Over half of mass shooters actually kill a family member during their killing spree, and two thirds have a history of stalking or harassing women,” she said, highlighting the female victims whose lives could be saved by better education and legislation. But, as with any issue of gender injustice, it’s not just women who suffer. “The greatest irony of the ‘manosphere’ is that [it] claim[s] to fight for men who experience real issues like mental health or sexual violence, but ironically they absolutely double down on the kind of constraining stereotypes that underpin those issues,” said Laura. A bleak reminder of the dually toxic nature of this type of discrimination – especially when it exists inside a system where women are already underrepresented and marginalised.
Through it all, the conversation between Laura and Mandu was balanced and honest – a frank discussion of a highly emotive and triggering topic conducted in a refreshingly respectful way. At one point, Mandu shared some of the story behind her motion (which would be debated the following day) on affirmative consent, and her courage in speaking about such a personal yet, sadly for many women, familiar experience brought a level of emotional clarity and weight to the session.
This is the beauty of Conference and the speakers and participants who come together to make it the impactful congregation that it is. Through every difficult conversation and chilling statistic, the sense of solidarity strengthened. Laura’s findings and the truths they uncover are frightening and uncomfortable, but their importance and her courage in speaking out is clear. It’s time for change in so many areas – hidden online misogyny and radicalisation starkly being one them. But with calm, intelligent yet unrelenting voices like Laura’s, like Mandu’s, like so many of those we heard across the weekend, we continue our journey. This is how we Build Back Equal, and the story’s only just begun.
Written by Holly Curry – Change the Chat CIC www.changethechat.co.uk
Research shows us that the female talent pipeline starts to shrink around mid-management level from being roughly a 50/50 gender split down to around 3% of women at board level; a major factor for the Gender Pay Gap. One of the key reasons for this is that women are still taking up the majority of primary carer roles in families, meaning that their capacity to return to traditional 9 – 5, full time roles is reduced and as a result, there is an over representation of women in low paid, part time work; many of whom are overqualified.
Currently, women are opting for roles that fit around their families which is demonstrated by the 427,000 women in the UK on a career break, of which more than half will return to these lower skilled, part-time roles. Women returners earn around a third less than male counterparts, taking between a 12% and 32% pay cut, causing a bottle neck effect - as salaries rise the presence of women falls.
This affects opportunities for women on many levels; the lack of female presence in senior roles makes it the norm for men to be visible as the decision makers, and a lack of female sponsors for more junior women coming up the ladder continues the cycle of a lack of gender diversity and female presence in senior roles. In this way, it is easy to see how we have become stuck in a traditional, inflexible way of working and why women are excluded from more senior roles and higher earning potential, when their external commitments are equally as inflexible.
Flexibility in the workplace for everyone, at all levels, means that women are more able to progress, and more able to earn higher salaries. More women in senior level roles has a direct, immediate, and tangible impact on the Gender Pay Gap, as well as igniting a less tangible, positive shift in cultural change. Currently, the emphasis on flexibility is within those lower skilled roles; however, we need to start looking up, looking at how we can make roles flexible from the top down. Businesses need a cultural shift – as opposed to waiting for individual requests for flexibility.
Until flexibility is the norm, women will be stunted in their careers and in their potential to earn salaries equal to their male counterparts and the Gender Pay Gap will remain as prevalent as it is today.
WE are launching our #Genderpaygap campaign today to raise awareness of the gender pay gap in Leeds, to celebrate the positive steps that local employers are making to tackle the gap, and to highlight those who aren’t making such positive progress.
We have written to 14 employers with offices based in Leeds with reported median pay gaps significantly greater than the national average of 18%. These employers are:
- Jet2.com (median pay gap of 49.7%)
- WYG Engineering Ltd (49.6%)
- Shepley Engineers Ltd (43.3%)
- Help-Link UK Ltd (40.3%)
- Tech Search Associates Ltd (40%)
- Henderson Insurance Brokers Ltd (35.8%)
- Transunion (34.8%)
- Leeds Bradford Airport Ltd (32.1%)
- Bristan Group Ltd (32%)
- Tenet Group Ltd (32%)
- BJSS Ltd (30.7%)
- Jemella Ltd (30.6%)
- Alton Cars Ltd (29.1%)
- Age Partnership Ltd (27.3%)
We asked them what progress they have made in regard to the actions that they committed to in the statements that they published in April 2018 on their gender pay gap data, and if they are taking any of the Government Equality Office recommendations into account.
Only four of these employers responded to us, are willing to engage in discussions about what action they are taking, and are being open and transparent. These employers are:
- WYG Engineering Ltd
- Henderson Insurance Broker
- BJSS Ltd
We have asked these four employers to meet with us to discuss their plans in more depth, and we will be keeping in touch with all 14 employers to monitor what actions they are taking.
We would love it if you could get support our campaign by:
- Contacting your local councillor or MP to ask them what actions they are taking to raise awareness of the number of employers with significant gender pay gaps in Leeds. Please download a template letter here>>>
Please do let us know if you received a reply by emailing us on email@example.com
- Taking part in the social media campaign – we will be tweeting on @wepleeds, posting on Instagram on @wep_leeds and on Facebook and it would be great if you could support the campaign using the hashtag #Genderpaygap
- Sharing information about this campaign with family, friends and colleagues and asking them to support the campaign
This is just the start of our campaign. We will keep you updated on our progress, keep a look out for further information on this page, in our email updates, and on social media.
Our new branch has been announced!
Thank you so much to everyone who attended the WEP Leeds branch election. It was a great evening and we are thrilled to introduce you to the new Women’s Equality Party Leeds branch committee!
Alice White, Joint Campaigns Officer:
‘I've been volunteering with the Women's Equality Party in Leeds as a Communications Officer and have helped with press activity, social media and strategic partnerships. I would really like to broaden my knowledge of equality issues and play an active role in campaigning in future with WEP so I have decided to become a Campaigns Officer.’
Laura Wood, Joint Campaigns Officer:
‘I joined WEP last year and straight away started campaigning in the Shipley general election campaign. After this fantastic experience, I became the leader of the Leeds Branch. I’m very proud to continue on the branch with a different role and excited to continue working with all of the wonderful people in the party who work so hard to fight for equality.’
Caroline Hunt, Election Agent:
‘I've been involved with WEP for 18 months now. I am the coordinator of the Northern Hub, trying to bring all the Northern branches of the Women's Equality Party together to work strategically and share best practice. However, Leeds is my home city and I love elections. As such I've asked to stay on as election agent for the Leeds branch. This means that when it comes to the local elections in 2019 I will organise our candidates and campaigns. I believe we could stand up to four candidates in the local elections next year but for that to happen we need candidates to come forward. Let me know if you are interested and we can start working together, the sooner the better!’
Jess Hankins, Community Officer:
"Hi I'm Jess, formerly Fundraising Officer for the Leeds branch and now in the newly-created role of Community Officer. I'm looking forward to finding ways to connect with local organisations that share our aims, working with local businesses who wish to support us, and finding ways to build our membership and grow the party locally."
Jenni Richards, Treasurer:
‘I am a new mum and will shortly be returning to my job in environment/health and safety. I joined the party last year and I have been looking for an opportunity to get more involved in the local branch ever since. I have held Treasurer positions in other groups I am involved with, so I feel this role is the best way I can help the branch.’
Su Edwards, Joint Data Manager:
‘I’ve enjoyed being joint data manager for the last 18 months. I have returned to active feminism after a 30-year quiet spell and it’s great fun to do politics differently!’
Fiona Heseltine, Joint Data Manager:
‘I wanted to get more involved with the Women's Equality Party as I am passionate about achieving equality in Leeds. I'm currently on maternity leave from my day job as a head receptionist and I chose the Data Manager position as I feel the skills I have learned through my job will help me to be an asset to the party in this role.’
Bethany Alice Barry, Ending Violence against Women and Girls Champion Officer:
‘I have been volunteering for the Leeds Women’s Equality Party as the Communications Officer for the last year. Taking a key role on the branch committee has been an amazing experience and I am now excited to start my new role, focusing on how we can help tackle violence against women and girls in Leeds.’
Jenny Manuel, Equality in Healthcare and Medical Research Champion Officer:
‘I am a 60-year-old retired GP. I worked in Chapeltown Leeds for the majority of my career, providing direct patient care and training new GPs. I amassed working knowledge of the health system and feel that my experience may be useful for the branch to tackle inequality in Healthcare and Medical Research.’’
Louise Jennings, Equal Education Champion Officer:
‘I was the WEP candidate for Headingley & Hyde Park in the 2018 local elections. This was a great experience and I would like to continue making a difference with the Leeds branch. I work in STEM higher education and am a School Parent Governor at my son’s school, so I would like to use this experience to champion equality in education.’
Rachel Hawker Equal Media Treatment Champion Officer:
‘I am a PhD student, studying atmospheric modelling at the University of Leeds. I chose the Champion Officer for Equal Representation in Media role because I'm continually frustrated by both the under-representation and the biased portrayal of women in the media.’
We hope you are as excited as us to welcome the new branch officers!
As you can see, we still have several branch positions open. These include: Branch Leader, Communications Officer, Fundraising Officer, Equal Representation in Politics Champion Officer, Equal Pay and Opportunity Champion Officer and Equal Parenting and Caregiving Champion Officer.
Please get in touch if you are interested in finding out more about any of these roles by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
We are asking for donations. If you are happy to give one without being convinced then brilliant! As long as you are a registered UK voter then click here to donate and make sure you provide your address.
If however you need a little more convincing let me tell you why we need your donations.
One of the biggest challenges new parties like the Women’s Equality Party face is letting voters know we exist. Political coverage on television is based on previous vote share so the status quo is heavily maintained. Even when we can get coverage in print media, its reach is heavily limited.
Running for council is not the most expensive part of politics in the UK but it still costs. Headingley and Hyde Park has over 19,000 voters making it almost as large as a small parliamentary constituency.
£150 would buy us 5000 leaflets. Leafleting is the most direct way we can communicate with our voters. If only three people could donate £50 then we would be well on our way to having our next batch of leaflets funded.
However, many voters live in blocks that are not accessible, particularly students in halls of residence. We can communicate with them through targeted social media advertising for as little as £10. Even a small donation can help us bring the message of gender equality to the people who need to hear it.
WEP Membership fees go towards brilliant parts of this party, such as our dedicated staff in central office, and providing childcare support for our general election candidates, but our local branches still need donations to put forward candidates in local elections.
If you wish to donate you must be eligible – political parties can only accept donations from individuals on the electoral roll in the UK. Any donations from individuals who are not on the electoral roll must be returned.
Whatever you can give to help us get Louise elected in Headingley & Hyde Park will make a difference to all of Leeds..
In October 2017, it was widely reported that the average childcare cost in England rose seven times faster than wages. In fact, the cost of child care sky-rocketed by 48% between 2008 and 2016—a period when wages fell,1 and in Yorkshire and the Humber, the cost of childcare climbed by almost four times more than wages did.1
At the time, Trade Union Congress General Secretary, Frances O’Grady reflected on these astonishing and unfortunate statistics, emphasizing the vital importance of government-funded initiatives. 2
“Parents need subsidized, affordable childcare from as soon as maternity leave finishes to enable them to continue working, and so mums don’t continue to have to make that choice between having a family and a career.”2
To tackle this problem, the Conservative government launched the woefully inadequate ‘30 hours free childcare’ scheme. Under the scheme, working parents of children aged between three and four who are lucky enough to find a childcare provider offering free places (providers are free to opt out of the scheme) are entitled to 30 hours of childcare a week, for 38 weeks a year, with no cost to them. However, to fund this the government only offer providers, on average, £4.59 per hour per child. A subtraction of 7% is then made to this amount, to be retained by local authorities for administrative purposes.3
Research4 has found that hour for hour, pound for pound, the rate childcare providers receive from the government is not enough to match the cost of providing childcare. A staggering 74% of childcare providers say the current funding rate is less than the cost of a place, meaning there is an average shortfall of 18% per ‘free’ place when it comes to funds5. Furthermore, information from the Pre-school Learning Alliance5 details that 49% of childcare providers plan to increase how much they charge for additional (non-government funded) hours as a result of the current scheme. Proposals of this kind include charging extra for meals, snacks and trips for the children.5 Simply put, insufficient funding from the government is resulting in costs having to be made up by others—parents who are already struggling to cover childcare costs.