Voice Community Comments on Childcare Affordability Survey

5th October 2021

Share this entry:

Commenting on a new childcare cost and availability survey of over 20,000 working parents, conducted by Mumsnet and other organisations, Deborah Lawson, Assistant General Secretary of Community Union (Voice Community early years and education section), said:

“Once again, another survey highlights the early years funding crisis.

In our own recent survey of early years and education professionals, The Future of Education, respondents described the early years system as an ‘undervalued, underpaid sector’ that ‘no-one cares about’ and commented that: ‘Childcare costs are very expensive, pricing parents out. Low pay for staff drives people out’.

Childcare is expensive, and the fundamental funding issue is how to provide good quality facilities and recruit and retain highly trained and skilled staff– paying them salaries appropriate for their qualifications and skills – without making provision too expensive for parents to afford.

For years, the private, voluntary and independent early years sector has been the ‘Cinderella service’ – overlooked, taken for granted, neglected and starved of resources by central government.

Recruitment was already in crisis before COVID-19 and, as we know, qualified staff can find work with less responsibility and higher pay outside the sector, and many have taken that route.

No longer can the early years sector scrape by. The Government must act now to save the sector – with both immediate financial support and long-term investment – implementing a national career and pay structure, and recognising early education and childcare as a critical infrastructure cost for immediate economic recovery and future economic health.”

Voice Community’s The Future of Education report recommends:

  • The “free entitlement” to be “fixed” so it is truly free and works for both early years settings and parents.
  • The sector being valued with appropriate training, qualifications, and funding.
  • A fair wage to be paid to every worker.
  • Career development for workers in early years.
  • Further information

The survey of parents was produced and distributed by Mumsnet, Pregnant Then Screwed, the TUC, the Fawcett Society, the Women’s Budget Group, Gingerbread, Working Families, the Fatherhood Institute, Maternity Action, Music Football Fatherhood, Mother Pukka, Tova Leigh, Black Mums Upfront, the Young Women’s Trust and Cathy Reay (That Single Mum). It found that:

  • 96% of working parents feel that ministers are not doing enough to support parents with the cost and availability of childcare; and
  • 97% believe that childcare in the UK is too expensive.

Voice Community represents thousands of members in education and early years. Not a member of a union? Visit Voice Community’s website today to find out more about how they can support you.

Why attend Childcare & Education Expo?

Join over 2,500 like-minded individuals from the early years & primary sector who are dedicated to improving their practice and their education settings.

Attend educational seminars to credit your CPD

Meet the experts to have your questions answered

Receive fantastic onsite offers and discounts

Experience expert-led informative hands-on workshops

Network with peers and industry players

Pick up hundreds of new products, resources, ideas and services

And most of all, enjoy a great day out with your colleagues

100+ exhibitors | 1000s of industry players | 100s of experts