Working at the edge: childcare briefing
Date: 31st December 2014
Category: Child poverty
By the Citizens Advice Scotland (www.cas.org.uk )
The 'Working at the Edge' series examines the problems that households face due to in-work poverty and this briefing focuses on childcare, highlighting recent legislative developments and the issues which need to be tackled.
Childcare has moved up the political agenda with the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 extending the amount of free early education available for three and four year olds as well as looked-after two year olds, those in kinship care and those from workless households, from 475 to 600 hours per year.
Evidence from citizens advice bureau clients has however shown that for working parents the costs of childcare can be a route to in-work poverty. Despite the increase in the statutory guarantee of childcare hours, a number of issues remain, including:
- Affordability of childcare
- Availability of childcare
- Childcare in summer holidays
- Changes to Tax Credits
- Zero hours contracts and childcare
The briefing recommends that action should be taken by local authorities and the Scottish Government to increase the availability of affordable local childcare across the country. The briefing also stresses that more should be done to make sure that the benefits system supports working families and ensures that parents do not face poverty because of the cost of childcare.