The government is being urged to get wages rising across the economy to at least £10 an hour.

The TUC union made the plea after its poll showed around one in three (32%) working parents with pre-school children spend more than a third of their wages on childcare.

Black and minority ethnic (BME) and disabled working parents are particularly likely to spend more of their income on childcare bills according to the poll. It found that  more than a third (35%) of disabled parents and 35 percent of BME parents are spending a third of their wages on looking after their children while they are at work.

Urgent cash boost needed

The TUC is also calling for an urgent cash boost for the sector – like the financial help given to transport networks – to give childcare workers better wages. 

This, it says, plus and a long-term funding settlement to make sure childcare is affordable and available for families. 

The union body argues that childcare is a vital part of our economic recovery. Investing in good quality, affordable childcare would support working parents and help the sector recover from the pandemic. 

Case study 

Shabby Ismail, 36, is a retail worker – and Usdaw union rep, health and safety rep and branch secretary – from Salford. She told the TUC:  “I have a 3-year-old son and I’m about to have another baby.  My son was 11 months old when I put him into nursery because we couldn’t afford for me to stay at home and for my husband to cover all the bills.”

But Shabby, who is about to have another baby, says she had to drop her hours from 39 a week to 20 a week. My son went to nursery for two and a half days a week and it cost £611 a month. I was only getting paid £800 a month. 





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Feyaza Khan has been a journalist for more than 20 years in print and broadcast. Her special interests include neurodiversity in the workplace, tech, diversity, trauma and wellbeing.