Government urged to boost childcare support to help parents get back to work

LABOUR shortages and inflation could be cracked if the government invested in boosting childcare support to help parents get back to work, the CBI said yesterday.

Tony Danker, head of the influential business group, argued the government needs to increase investment in childcare as the UK’s soaring nursery costs make it impossible for mums to work.

AlamyGovernment has been urged to boost childcare support to help parents get back to work[/caption]

In a speech at the CBI conference looking at how the world of work has changed after the pandemic, Mr Danker said: “We don’t have the workforce and skills we need to prosper.”

Mr Danker said that a shake-up of the childcare system to increase and extend free 30-hours-a-week entitlements for one and two-year- old children would allow millions of new parents to return to work.

“We need to empower the people who want to work to do so. The government can help us with the budget in two weeks time — on childcare we need to make it affordable for parents who want to work,” Mr Danker said.

At the moment parents can receive the nursery cost support only when a child turns three-years-old and help is only available for two-year-old children if a parent is on benefits.

Experts argue that parents are often hit the hardest financially in the first year of a new child, particularly after income is reduced while on maternity leave.

Households often do not have the cash to prepare for huge nursery bills, which are on average £7,000 a year in the UK for part-time placements.

Parents pay on average £138 per week for part-time nurseries and £263 per week for full-time childcare while after school clubs for five days typically cost a parent £62 a week.

The CBI said that childcare costs for two-year-olds in the UK have soared by 60 per cent in the past decade, meaning households with two working parents spend 19 per cent of their household income on nursery fees.

That compares to 1 per cent in Germany, 5 per cent in Spain and 9 per cent in France.

The government’s funding of childcare currently accounts for less than 0.1 per cent of GDP.

The CBI said flexible working, which many companies now offer, will also help to encourage more parents back to work.

Mr Danker said it was also now up to businesses to look after their workers with health checks.

He said: “The sooner we make these changes the sooner there will be more workers and greater productivity and growth.”


SEX lives have become more expensive as the maker of Durex and KY Jelly says the price of its goods has risen by 10 per cent in the past year.

Reckitt Benckiser, which also makes Nurofen headache tablets, says it’s increased prices by 9.8 per cent but price hikes would be lower this year as inflation pressures eased.

Sales of condoms have risen since Covid social restrictions have eased.

Caretaker boss Nicandro Durante said that Reckitt’s full year sales have increased 7.6 per cent to £14.5 billion.


HOUSE prices fell at their fastest pace for more than a decade in February as higher mortgage costs hit buyers’ demand.

The average UK house price slumped 1.1 per cent compared to a year ago — the biggest annual decline since the end of 2012 — according to lender Nationwide.

ReutersHouse builder Persimmon will halve its building target this year as it warned sales could fall 40 per cent[/caption]

It’s the sixth month in a row house prices have slipped, after edging down 0.5 per cent, or £900 in January, to an average price of £257,406.

Nationwide’s Robert Gardner blamed the “financial turbulence in response to the mini-budget” which has added around £1,000 to the cost of new home loans. Many buyers can no longer afford a home and others are holding off expecting prices to fall further.

House builder Persimmon will halve its building target this year as it warned sales could fall 40 per cent.


CREDIT card borrowing has jumped at the fastest rate in 17 years as the cost of living squeezes household finances.

Consumer borrowing hit £1.6billion in January, according to the latest Bank of England figures — double the amount borrowed in December and the highest since last June.

This includes £1.1billion in credit card borrowing — a growth rate of 13.5 per cent in January compared to 12.4 per cent in December.


PRET has increased staff pay for the third time in a year with workers now earning more than £12 an hour.

Labour shortages are causing a war for workers, with shops and restaurants hiking wages to remain attractive to low-earners, who are spending more of their packets on essential items.

Some 7,870 Pret workers have seen average pay rise by 19 per cent in the past year.

Barista pay will now also rise from between £10.80 and £12.50 an hour to between £11.20 and £12.85 an hour.