Ahead of the Autumn Statement CBI Calls for £2bn Investment in Childcare

CBI Calls for £2bn Investment in Childcare

The Autumn Statement is only a few weeks away (23 November), the first to be given by new Chancellor Phillip Hammond. In the run up to the budget announcement many organisations have put forward their ideas about what should be implemented by Government. The CBI is one such organisation, which today has released its priorities for the statement.

Invest in childcare

To boost the economy CBI have called on the Chancellor to invest an additional £2billon per year on childcare provision. The group argues that although the UK’s employment rate is at a record high, men are more likely to be in employment and earn more than women.  According to CBI, closing the gap between the end of maternity/shared parental pay and the start of childcare support would have many benefits, including increasing female employment by 2%, helping to close the gender pay gap, supporting businesses and improving educational outcomes for children.

CBI recommend offering 15 hours of universal childcare per week for all children aged between one and four years old, and, in addition, they also call for an extension of statutory maternity/shared parental pay to 52 weeks.

The current situation

Currently only children in England in their pre-school year (with the exception of some two year olds in disadvantaged areas) are able to access 15 hours of free early years provision. This will be extended to 30 hours per week in September 2018.

In Northern Ireland children in the pre-school year are only entitled to 12.5 hours of free pre-school, there are no plans to extend this entitlement.

Maternity and Shared Parental Leave pay is currently available for 39 weeks.

A welcome suggestion

At Employers For Childcare we welcome any call for further investment in childcare and parental leave. The cost of childcare in particular is barrier to work for many parents, particularly mothers. This is an issue which is raised year on year in our Childcare Cost Surveys. We are hopeful that the new Chancellor will take steps to support parents, with childcare and other family entitlements.

We will be monitoring the Autumn Statement and will provide a briefing for parents once the announcement has been made. Watch this space!