Last year the Conservative Party pledged in its General Election manifesto that 30 hours of free childcare would be available to all working parents of 3 and 4 year olds. Having myself worked since my youngest was 3 I know what a help this would be as childcare is expensive no matter how they snazz it up.
But the eligibility criteria have been tightened in the recent months. First parents had to work a minimum of 8 hours or more to qualify. Now the governments Childcare Bill is reaching the Report Stage in the House of Commons (Monday 25th Jan) and the criteria has been tweaked further. Now the new proposal is for parents to work a minimum of 16 hours paid at the National Minimum Wage.
This seemingly small change by the Government will have an impact on 20,000 working single parents. Impact in the form they won’t get it.
So those who really need it won’t get it. Affordable and available childcare cover is severely lacking. An already stressful situation is now being made harder for single parents just when they really don’t need this and could do with some help.
Gingerbread are highlighting this new change and “What we want to see is the government take into consideration the needs of Britain’s two million single parents, and show that it’s on the side of working people. There’s considerable support across parliament to make certain groups exempt in exceptional circumstances, such as the victims of domestic violence, and we’d like to see the same for those who are in training and attempting to upskill in order to move into employment. This means exempting single parents from the 16-hour commitment.”