Treasury Committee Inquiry: Childcare policy and its influence on the economy

Employers For Childcare has responded to the Treasury Committee’s Inquiry into childcare policy and its influence on the economy.

In our response, we argue that the economy will be stronger if we have a highly skilled, dedicated workforce which is supported by a strong and robust childcare infrastructure. Without access to childcare parents cannot work, skilled workers leave the workforce or work in lower paid, lower hours jobs, and access to training and education is limited. Using evidence based on our work with parents and employers we highlight that an effective childcare infrastructure positions childcare as an enabler rather than a barrier to work – generating enhanced labour productivity through allowing parents not just to enter the workplace, but to access employment that pays, that is appropriate to their level of skills and experience, and that impacts positively on their mental health and well-being. Childcare is also a key tool in enabling parents to progress in the workplace and to access training and development opportunities.

We also use our response to the Inquiry to call on the Treasury Committee to urge the Government to keep Childcare Vouchers open to new entrants alongside the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme. This is key in ensuring that parents can access the financial support for childcare that best suits the needs of their family.

We make five key recommendations:

Recommendation 1: Keep Childcare Vouchers open to new entrants, alongside Tax-Free Childcare, as part of a comprehensive package of support for working parents.

Recommendation 2: Promote the role of employers in providing a working environment and culture within which staff feel able to ask for information, advice and support.

Recommendation 3: Raise awareness amongst parents, employers and childcare providers of the financial support parents may be entitled to.

Recommendation 4: Quantify and explore the role of informal childcare provided by grandparents.

Recommendation 5: Consider not only the cost of childcare but also the availability of suitable childcare regardless of:

  1. The age of the child.
  2. Where the family lives (rural / urban).
  3. Whether the child has a disability.
  4. The working patterns of the parent.

For further information see: Treasury Committee Inquiry: Childcare policy and its influence on the economy