More affordable child care needed in Westminster

Councillor Barrie Taylor, speaking at Westminster Council’s Annual Budget meeting, outlined the case for more affordable childcare;

“The latest Annual survey by The Family and Childcare Trust shows that;

• The average cost of sending a child under 2 years to nursery in London for 25 hours/week is £7286 / year.
• For a family with 2 children in full time childcare it amounts to £11,700 – 62% higher than the average mortgage. Meaning that parents are paying £1,214 more in 2014 than 2009.
• The majority of parents buying full time care contribute 20-30% of their gross income on childcare.
• The average cost of an after school place is £48.19 – £1,830/year

These conditions are exacerbated in Westminster due to local prices being much higher for full time places, so much so that even our nurseries (e.g. Katherine Bruce / Warwick) are half empty and cannot be afforded by local families. The result being that the targeting of help by the government has backfired for those in most need.

If you want a ‘sticking plaster’ answer for some of these issues we need to:

• Extend free education to all 2 year olds
• Extend the pupil premium to 2, 3 and 4 year olds
• Uprate Working Tax Credits to account for the loss in value during the national strategy period
• In future, increase support in Universal Credit to a minimum of 85% for all parents

However, none of this solves the problem of high costs

We need a system that is less complex and affordable as the current arrangements in Westminster create barriers for many families – shutting them out of the labour market and making them more dependent upon the benefits system – something which is probably the total opposite of the government’s stated intentions”

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