End the Childcare Crisis in the West of England

End the Childcare Crisis in the West of England

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Mhairi Threlfall started this petition

Childcare should be considered as infrastructure. It should be strategically planned and supported by the West of England Combined authority, and have clear strategic outcomes in our Strategic Planning documents and in our local industrial strategy.

For those lucky enough to get childcare in the West of England (many childcare providers currently have lengthy waiting lists), families are then faced with crippling bills. Four days a week for an under-2 at a childminder in Bristol can have a starting cost of £10,000 a year (after Tax-Free childcare is applied), with nurseries costing upward of £12,000 for similar cover. Essentially, families are spending on average 40% of their net income on childcare, which for those earning less than the median salary, is completely unaffordable, sending families and single parents into debt to work.

Nationally, organisations like Pregnant then Screwed, The Childcare Levy, Save The Children and Early Education are running fantastic campaigns calling on the Government for an independent review of early years childcare. A big part of the problem for many early years providers is the Government underpayment of 15 and 30 hours-free childcare. As a result there is a growing expenses gap which is often either passed on to the families of young children, results in childcare professionals working for poverty wages or, in extreme cases, can result in the childcare provider closing permanently. This has caused a pressure on places and a recruitment crisis in the industry.

We actively support these national campaigns but, we, the undersigned, also believe that more can also be done at a local level to tackle the childcare crisis in the short term. We call on local leaders in the West of England Combined Authority, our MP's and our local constituent councils to meet urgently to:

  • Work together to develop a plan for Childcare as infrastructure, ensuring it has a prominent place within key documents
  • Ensure that more childcare providers are aware of and signed up to the Bristol Standard
  • Develop and deliver a plan to tackle the recruitment crisis within the industry, working with employers, education institutions and trade unions
  • Lobby government and support established organisations like Pregnant Then Screwed, to call on the Government for an independent review
  • Campaign to #EndtheChildcare crisis now
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