Pricey childcare is exacerbating the country’s gender pay gap and driving women out of the workforce, according to a London thinktank.
Ministers have been urged to take further action to provide cheaper childcare, by The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) in a new paper today.
Some 30 per cent of two-earner household incomes is dished out on nurseries, making the UK the most expensive childcare in the developed world.
The CPS has urged the government to adopt the French childcare ratio, as opposed to a consultation that will look at changing the ratio in England to mirror Scotland’s.
Slashing red tape, by relaxing child-staff ratios at nurseries, would cut costs significantly, the paper said.
The CPS also urged the consideration of scrapping a curriculum for early years children.
“Failing to implement the changes set out today – which impose no additional cost to the taxpayer – will represent a significant missed opportunity to improve the lives of millions of families across the country,” Elizabeth Dunkley, report author, said.
An urgent need for childcare reform predates the cost of living crunch, Dunkley added.
“Tackling the cost of childcare will allow the Government to increase families’ spending powers and remove significant barriers to women returning to the labour market – two vital ingredients to producing the economic growth the UK desperately needs,” she said.