Parents face paying more for childcare than housing as ‘motherhood penalty’ hits – TrendyNewsReporters

Parents face paying more for childcare than housing as ‘motherhood penalty’ hits

Almost two-thirds of families are paying more, or the same, for their childcare as they do their rent or mortgage, according to a landmark survey of 27,000 parents of young children conducted by the charity Pregnant Then Screwed who campaign to highlight the motherhood penalty.

This number rises to 73 percent for single parents, and 73 percent for parents who work full time, showing that high childcare costs are a key driver for women being pushed into low-paid part-time work

The ‘motherhood penalty’ is a term coined by sociologists which is shorthand for the fact that women are penalized for having children because they must take time out from work and, when or if they return, find that childcare is expensive.

The cost of housing and the cost of childcare has long been on a collision course, particularly for single mothers and families who rent privately as opposed to owning their homes. Now, the combined costs are adding pressure to households who already face rising energy bills and supermarket shops.

During the pandemic rents have risen, reaching record highs in many parts of the country. The latest data from HomeLet – a tenancy referencing agency – showed that the average UK rent rose to £1,069 a month in February this year. That is up by 8.6 percent in 2021 when it was £984.

So, too, have childcare costs which have gone up by 4 percent according to the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA).

These combined cost of living hikes are causing a quiet crisis for those with young children who are simply trying to make ends meet. And with both rents and childcare getting more expensive, many people are feeling squeezed.

Joeli Brearley, the founder of Pregnant Then Screwed told i that she finds the situation “disturbing”. “This is not sustainable. We hear all the time that the lack of affordable housing is impacting families. It comes up time and time again,” Brearley said.

“As things are right now, we know that one in four families are skipping meals or foregoing heating in order to pay for childcare,” Brearley adds.

“Our research also found that 43 percent of mothers are considering leaving their job because of childcare costs. If we continue on this trajectory, not only will we see hundreds of thousands of families fall into poverty, but we will also see a huge increase in the gender pay gap as mothers fall out of their careers.”

With the cost of the basics – housing and childcare – rising, something has to give. If no help is offered, it may well be gender equality.


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