Levels of access to childcare vary across local areas in England

  • Pay & Benefits
childcare access
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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

Accessible childcare can be crucial for parents and guardians who want to return to work, increase their hours or even enter the labour market for the first time.

This is the view of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in a report entitled Childcare Accessibility by Neighbourhood.

It highlights that a primary challenge for families is whether they can access suitable childcare locally and the ONS analysis with Ofsted, which inspects and regulates childcare services, shows wide variation in the potential level of access to registered childcare places across the country in 2023.

Areas with lower levels of access to childcare were generally more likely to have lower disposable household incomes, on average, and a higher proportion of children living in poverty. Affluent areas such as St Albans and Cambridge had the highest levels of childcare access.

They have 43 and 42 places per 100 children respectively while areas such as Hartlepool (15), Sunderland (14) and Walsall (12) are at the bottom of the table.

The ONS also notes that areas with higher levels of childcare access were more likely to have women with higher levels of qualification. Of the 10 local authorities with the highest levels of childcare access, nine were also in the highest 10% for the proportion of women in households with dependent young children, who were highly qualified.

Its analysis shows that areas with lower levels of childcare access tend to have higher proportions of women in households with dependent young children, who were neither working nor looking for work because of looking after the home or family.

Responding to the report, TUC General Secretary, Paul Nowak, said: “Childcare is a key part of our economic infrastructure. It’s how we support parents to work and contributes massively to closing the gender pay gap. Women shouldn’t have to give up or cut down paid work because they can’t find the right care for their children.”

TUC analysis published last year found that more than 1.46 million women are out of the labour market because of their caring responsibilities.

Here at Peninsula, we have years of experience supporting businesses in the education and childcare sector, contact us today and see how we can help yours.

Visit BrAInbox today where you can find answers to questions like What’s the difference between carer’s leave and time off for dependants?

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