London mayor Sadiq Khan has urged employers to help parents "locked out of the workplace" due to rising childcare costs.
He said more should follow the example of the Greater London Authority, which has just introduced a new childcare deposit loan across all organisations within it.
All parents in the GLA group, spanning TfL, the Metropolitan Police and the London Fire Brigade, will be given funds needed to cover the up-front costs of childcare provision.
Childcare costs in London are 34 per cent more than the national average, according to a Family and Childcare Trust report, while nurseries often charge an upfront cost of up to £1,500. So many parents are blocked from either returning to work or starting a new role.
A report from the British Chambers of Commerce found more than one in four business leaders said employees had cut hours due to the high cost of childcare and 10 per cent said some had even quit for the same reason.
I’ve pledged to work with employers to make childcare more affordable and accessible, with a strategy that delivers for business and workers across London.
The benefits of accessible, good quality childcare are clear all round – parents will be able to return to work, children will have more access to quality early years education, and employers will be able to reap the benefits of having skilled and eager parents back in the workplace.
The GLA scheme was proposed by Liberal Democrat Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon, backed by the Assembly and drawn up by single parent charity Gingerbread.
This year, the government is rolling out a doubling of the free childcare entitlement – so every three and four-year-old in the UK will be entitled to 30 hours of free childcare, rather than 15.