Thousands of women asked the government to look into expensive childcare costs in Britain had their demands for an investigation was rejected by the government on International Women’s Day.
A survey calling for an independent review of childcare funding and affordability collected 113,713 signatures and initiated a debate on childcare in parliament.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, at 3:36 am, the females who have signed the petition were told in an email from the petition committee that the government has no such plans to look into the cost and availability of childcare. The petition committee also published the response of the government to its report on the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on new parents.
In September 2021, a survey indicated that 96% of more than 20,000 working parents said ministers were not doing enough to help parents with the price and availability of childcare, while 97% said childcare in the UK was too costly.
The survey revealed low-income parents and those on universal credit were resorting to using food banks due to the enormous costs of childcare.
The petitions committee stated that government answer also “fails to commit” dedicated catch-up funding to deal with the backlog in parental mental health and health visiting services and “repeats the government’s commitment, originally given in its response to the committee’s first report on this issue, to supporting redundancy protections for expectant mothers, but again failed to set a timetable for doing so”.
The government said it had announced £500m in the 2021 autumn spending review for early years services, including mental health services for new parents. It added, “Tax-free childcare is a great offer for working parents.”
Joeli Brearley, the founder of Pregnant Then Screwed, said it was “quite astonishing” that the news had been delivered on International Women’s Day.
“Affordable childcare is a critical component of gender equality. Without it, hundreds of thousands of mothers are forced out of their jobs, whilst 84% say that the cost of childcare has harmed their ability to progress their career,” she said. “We will never have gender equality whilst women cannot afford to go to work. Happy International Women’s Day to you too!”