WIGAN’S MP has called on the Government to act now to avoid children being neglected during the school holidays.
Lisa Nandy was responding to claims by charities that the rising cost of holiday childcare could lead to more children being left home alone this summer, by urging the Government to do more to allow mothers to get back to work while receiving childcare support.
The Family and Childcare Trust’s survey of Britain’s nurseries and childminders suggests a week’s childcare in holiday periods now averages £109.23: a rise of 9.2 per cent since last year.
Charity chief executive Anand Shukla said with many nurseries closing for holidays, and cuts to youth services, more children may be left unsupervised.
Ms Nandy said: “I think there is an urgent need to address the soaring cost of child care, not least for young women struggling to get back into the workforce because the costs of childcare is too much to make it possible.
“If the Government introduced a system of paying for childcare up front they would easily recoup the outlay within a four-year term simply by having more young mothers back in employment.
“What has not helped is the Government’s approach to childminders, which means they have reduced the amount of children that one childminder can be responsible for which has just made things more expensive for parents without actually making care standards any better. I am also concerned that there are people in Wigan who will simply not be able to feed their families over the six week holidays and while I am not advocating a free for all system, I do think reducing the school summer holidays would help address certain issues.”
Holiday childcare can be a particular problem for parents with schools, school-based nurseries and play groups closed. And as prices continue to rise, many may find it difficult to find holiday cover.
The trust surveyed the 161 family information services based in local authorities across England, Wales and Scotland in May, asking them the average cost of holiday childcare in their area. Some 77 per cent of authorities responded.