Why working parents need access to financial support

In recent months, we have welcomed reports of falling levels of unemployment in Northern Ireland and across the UK. However, this masks persistently high and rising levels of economic inactivity. This includes parents delivering childcare. Equally, we know some of those classified as ‘employed’ are on ‘zero hours’ contracts, while others are on low salaries, or working fewer hours than they need to sustain their families, and at risk of in-work poverty. Weak real wage growth may be “the new normal”, according to Resolution Foundation economists. At the same time, August saw a rise in interest rates for only the second time in 10 years, which could see parents paying more in mortgage payments.

In this context, more than ever, working parents and those seeking to get into work need access to support that maximises their household income. One form of support, Childcare Vouchers, is due to close to new entrants in October.

Campaign to keep Childcare Vouchers open

Employers For Childcare is campaigning to stop this closure and secure the long-term provision of Childcare Vouchers within a comprehensive, flexible package of support for working families. Removing this pillar of support puts families at risk of being financially worse off and, for some, will pose a barrier to employment.

Several local MPs are actively supporting the campaign, and elected representatives from across the political parties have been raising awareness. Opposition MPs have signed a Westminster Early Day Motion calling for a Parliamentary Debate to secure the future of Childcare Vouchers.

We are asking parents, childcare providers and employers to contact their MP to lobby the Government to keep Childcare Vouchers open. Details of how to do this are on our website.

In the meantime, what can you do?

Time is running out to join Childcare Vouchers, so parents must act now. For some it will already be too late, depending on when their employer runs their payroll – all the more reason to get behind the campaign to keep Childcare Vouchers open for everyone!

For any questions about childcare support, Employers For Childcare’s independent Family Benefits Advice Service offers free, impartial and confidential advice on 0800 028 3008. Alternatively, email hello@employersforchildcare.org.

www.employersforchildcare.org

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