To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for his policies of Save the Children's estimate, in their report entitled Lost Opportunities, Lost Income, published 23 January 2019, that mothers are losing out on over £1.2 billion in earnings due to a lack of affordable childcare.
4 February 2019
The government is very aware of the challenges faced by families, including working mothers, due to childcare costs. That is why we will be spending around £6 billion on childcare support in 2019-20. This is more than any previous government. This includes around £3.5 billion which we plan to spend this year on all the free early education entitlements.
All 3 and 4 year olds, and the most disadvantaged two-year-olds, are able to access 15 hours a week of free early education and, from September last year, we doubled the childcare entitlement for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds to 30 hours a week. In the first year of delivery, over 340,000 children benefited from a 30 hours place.
Eligibility for the 30 hours entitlement is based on parental income. This means that parents using the full 30 hours entitlement could save, on average, up to £5,000 per year. Our recent evaluation of the first year of national roll-out of 30 hours of free childcare indicated that over one quarter of mothers surveyed said they had increased their hours and 15% stated that they would not be working without the extended hours.