Lords debates access to affordable childcare

10 January 2014

Members of the Lords, including NSPCC and Unicef UK representatives and the chair of CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service), debated the case for increasing access to affordable childcare on Thursday 9 January.

Problems finding accessible and affordable childcare were highlighted by members as a significant problem for many parents, in particular for women finding work and progressing at work. Personal experiences of juggling childcare and work and the guilt and pressure of being at work with young children were discussed - members who are now grandparents questioned the progress of provision since they were mothers of pre-school children. Comparisons were made with the effectiveness of childcare in other European countries and the proportion of household income spent on childcare in the UK.

Members also spoke of the benefits of early years education: arguing it can improve child development and social mobility, and that professional childcare can also improve parenting skills.

Types of childcare were covered and concern was raised about  bureaucracy for childminders and the decline in their number, difficulty for parents in accessing care at the times they need and the availability and particularly high cost of childcare for disabled children.

Ways to provide more choice and flexibility in the market and cut bureaucracy for providers were put forward. Members agreed it is a complex area in need of a long term strategy for improvement, and a cross-party approach with all parents in mind.

Futher information

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More news on: Communities and families, Parliament, government and politics, Parliament, Children and families, Education, Pre-school education, Child care, House of Lords news, Lords news

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