Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary met Peterborough mums to hear more about the rising costs of childcare
Labour has warned of an emerging “childcare desert” in Peterborough after new analysis from the party found that there were now two children for every childcare
Shadow Education Secretary, Bridget Phillipson MP, visited the city to meet single parent families alongside local Labour candidate Andrew Pakes and the charity Gingerbread.
There are 10,000 single parent families in Peterborough according to the latest official data, with Gingerbread warning of barriers to flexible childcare.
The parents meeting was held at Peterborough Museum with local mums discussing issues around the costs and availability of childcare, and its impact on work and family life.
Ms Phillipson said: “Families in large parts of this country, including in Peterborough, have been abandoned in childcare deserts by this Conservative Government.
“The falling availability and spiralling cost of childcare is forcing parents to cut back on jobs and hours, or to leave the labour market, and after crashing the economy, the Conservatives have no ideas about how to fix our broken system.
“Labour will create a modern childcare system from the end of parental leave to the end of primary school to give parents choices in the workplace and give children the best possible start to life.
Andrew Pakes, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Peterborough, said: “I’d like to thank parents and Gingerbread for highlighting the lack of choice facing too many parents due to low pay, rising costs and lack of flexible childcare provision.
“Fixing the affordable childcare crisis will help children, parents and the local economy with parents being able to make the right choices for their families.”
He said that Labour has pledged to create “a modern childcare system supporting families from the end of parental leave to the end of primary school, starting with universal free breakfast clubs for every primary school child in England”.
Victoria Benson, CE of Gingerbread the charity for single parent families said: “Today’s roundtable has been set up to discuss an essential part of UK infrastructure – childcare – and Gingerbread is delighted to be speaking to Bridget Phillipson, MP alongside single parents from across East Anglia.
“There are nearly two million single parent families in the UK, and we desperately need to see changes to childcare provision to protect single parents from being locked out of the labour market and locked into poverty.
“It’s fair to say that many issues with our childcare system hit single parents hardest.
“This is because single parent families live on a single household income, have less flexibility to juggle childcare, and those who work have less annual leave than a working couple-parent family.
- The average annual full time nursery cost for a child under two is £14,836 (Coram, 2023)
- The UK average price of holiday childcare per week is £147.00 (https://www.familyandchildcaretrust.org/sites/default/files/Resource%20Library/Coram%20Holiday%20Childcare%20Survey%202022.pdf)
Peterborough/East of England
- There are 10,000 single parents in Peterborough (2019, ONS)
- There are 161,000 single parents in the East of England (2021, ONS)
- There are 1753 nurseries in the East of England
- There is one childcare place for every 2.4 children in Peterborough
- Data from the Department for Education shows there were 5,993 places for early years childcare in Peterborough as of December 2022. Separate data from the 2021 census reveals there were around 14,200 children aged four and under in the region.
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