New evidence is supporting the campaign for the tax free childcare scheme

The recent publication of the government paper “Evidence to Inform the Childcare Commission” has now confirmed many long standing assumptions of both parents and childcare providers in the UK. There are three that really stand out; most mums go out to work, these mums need top quality childcare, and this childcare needs to be made more affordable.

More specifically, the report reveals that:

70% of women in the UK with one child work. 67% of those with 2 children work. 41% of those with three children work.****

31% of those polled*** said that the cost of childcare is too high compared with what they would earn.

24% of parents said cheaper/more affordable childcare would have solved this difficulty.***

Among some of the solutions for childcare difficulties experienced by parents, the most frequently suggested included cheaper or more affordable childcare (mentioned by 24 per cent of parents who had experienced difficulties).

John Woodward, CEO at Busy Bees Benefits said: “Much of the evidence is not particularly surprising. As MD of Busy Bees Group, comprising the UK’s largest childcare provider, Busy Bees nurseries and Childcare Voucher provider, Busy Bees Benefits, we are well aware of how difficult many families find it to pay for high quality childcare.

Busy Bees Benefits is already trying to get more financial help for parents using childcare by campaigning for improvements to the Government’s proposed Tax-free Childcare scheme to make it fit for purpose at its launch and in the future. The Mind the Gap – Raise the Cap campaign acknowledges what the Evidence to Inform the Childcare Commission finds – that in England staff salary costs are the principal component of the costs of providing early years and childcare services.*

Under the proposed Tax-free Childcare scheme, working parents will pay 80% of their childcare bill; the Government will contribute the remaining 20% and this will apply to childcare costs of up to £6,000. However, the average cost of childcare is actually around £7,500 per year**. Indeed, in the poll of 1000 parents by Ipsos Mori, (published as part of the Evidence to inform the Childcare Commission), in which the parents estimated their monthly spend on childcare in total (irrespective of the number of children in the household), 22 per cent paid between £241 and £640 per month, and 14 per cent said they paid £641 or more per month.***

Busy Bees Benefits is asking that:

1. the Government increase the current cap in line with childcare costs before the Tax-free Childcare scheme is launched as the £6,000 cap is already below the average cost of childcare.

2. the Government commits to reviewing and raising the cap each year so that the maximum childcare cost covered by the scheme remains in line with average childcare costs.

The Tax-free Childcare scheme will not start until Autumn 2015, by which time the gap between the funded amount and the true cost of childcare will have widened further.

An e-petition to support the campaign can be found at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/48405.

For more information about the campaign visit www.busybeesbenefits.com.