As a child, the long (and hopefully hot) summer holidays were something you looked forward to, but for many parents they are the most challenging weeks of the year when it comes to juggling work and family life.
Many parents have to take their annual leave in ‘shifts’ to ensure one parent is home to look after children, instead of taking time off together to spend time as a family. Some are able to call on grandparents, other family members or friends to help out, but others aren’t so lucky.
The many parents who need to arrange holiday childcare will be concerned at the findings of a recent report from the Family and Childcare Trust, which found that the average cost of a week’s holiday provision in Yorkshire & Humberside is now £120.68, an increase of 23.1% since 2010.
The same report also showed that gaps in provision are growing. More than 60% of councils said they had enough childcare for 4-7 year olds in 2009, but that’s now dropped to just over a third.
Add into this equation the fact cuts to childcare tax credits have, on average, wiped nearly £600 from the support that families on lower incomes get to help them pay for this, and you soon realise that the sums won’t add up for many families. This triple whammy of higher costs, fewer places and less support is causing many parents to question whether or not they are better off leaving work altogether.
Tackling this childcare crisis has to be a priority so I would be interested to the views of local families, as well as childcare providers. I can be contacted at email@example.com