Following a petition launched by Grazia, The Juggle and Pregnant Then Screwed, it has been confirmed that a debate on childcare funding and affordability in the UK will be held in Parliament.
The petition received over 100,000 signatures from the British public in just one week, calling the Government to commission an independent review into the childcare sector and accept its recommendations.
The UK has the second most expensive childcare system in the world. On average, a full-time place costs £14,000 per year, making it unaffordable for many families, particularly single parents and those on low incomes.
Research by Pregnant Then Screwed in 2020 found that two-thirds of mothers work fewer hours than they want to because of childcare costs and research by Save the Children found that there are 870,000 stay at home mums who want to work but can't because of childcare cost and availability. It was also found that childcare workers are paid so badly that 1 in 10 are officially living in poverty.
Issues were exacerbated when the UK Government cut funding to the childcare sector in December 2020 despite being in the middle of a pandemic, resulting in 2,087 childcare settings closing in England in the first 3 months of this year.
Commenting on the success of the petition so far, Hattie Brett, editor of Grazia says, “We’re so thankful to everyone who has supported our campaign so far and signed the petition. Through our new parenting community @TheJuggleUK we knew that many parents were struggling with the current childcare system, but we weren’t expecting such an overwhelming amount of support in its first few days. Now that we’ve reached our first goal, we can’t wait to continue our work with Pregnant Then Screwed and make a change.”
Joeli Brearley, founder, Pregnant Then Screwed, adds, “We are delighted that we have not only received over 100,000 signatures on our petition but that Parliament has agreed to hold a debate to explore the notion of an independent review in more detail. This is the power of collective action. Thank you to everyone who signed, shared and supported. You made this happen.”