The cost of childcare in Liverpool is causing mothers to remain out of work following maternity leave and creating issues for those who remain employed.
The average cost of 20 Liverpool nurseries for just one day of care is £46.13, and this cost is driving mothers away from childcare.
Claudia Wattkins spoke with MNL about her experiences after being made redundant while on maternity leave during COVID-19.
She said: “Going back to work wasn’t an option because I’ve got a six-year-old and then my new daughter as well.
“I’d have to pay for before school, after school and then nursery as well.
“Doing that, I’d be in the minus going to work.”
A study carried out by the National Childbirth Trust found that 51% of new mums said that the cost of childcare was a key factor in the choice to return to work.
There are lots of different types of childcare available to parents, like nursery and before and after school clubs.
However, one issue for some mums who work is that many nursery times don’t reflect the reality of a working parent.
Siobhan Patricia, mum of twins and primary school teacher, has dealt with this herself.
Her sons currently attend nursery only two days a week, because of the cost.
She said: “I’m a primary school teacher, so I’m on supply.
“I need that half 7am to 5pm.
“If I had to pay, Monday to Friday, for two of them, it was going to cost me about £1500 if not close to £2000 a month.
“That’s my wages gone.”
Suzannah Hamilton, who has worked in the childcare sector for eleven years, also spoke with MNL.
She said: “I have friends with young children in school and they often tell me how difficult it is to get their children to school and make it to work on time, or to arrange for somebody to pick their child up at 3pm when they don’t finish work until 5pm.
“Often they have to pay for after school clubs.
“I think that all childcare should be available from at least 8am-5pm to cater for working families.”
Right now, two-year-olds are eligible for 15 hours free childcare and three and four-year-olds are eligible for 30 free hours.
However, Jeremy Hunt has proposed in his 2023 Budget that the Government will improve childcare by extending free hours to include children aged nine months and up.
Siobhan Patricia said: “Not everybody’s got grandparents or their parents that don’t work, and can have their children like four-five days a week.
“It’s all a little too late for me because I’m not going to benefit from it at all, but I do think it’s a good thing.”
Hunt has also put forward the idea of increasing the ratio of children to staff in childcare services.
While this would mean more availability for children and a possible decrease in cost, it would also put more stress on the workers.
Suzannah Hamilton said: “I would question the quality of care that each child can receive with less staff members present.
“For example one staff member to five children would most likely not be able to provide the same amount of attention and care as they would if they were only responsible for three or four.
“It also means a lot more work for the staff who are already overworked and underpaid, and I don’t think it would persuade anyone to start a career in childcare.”
Both mothers expressed doubt that Jeremy Hunt’s childcare plans would actually be put into action, and disliked the idea of less supervision in nurseries.