High childcare costs force employees to cut hours

A report from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has warned that over 20 per cent of UK business leaders believe their employees had been forced to reduce their hours as a result of the high costs of childcare.

A survey of more than 1,600 business leaders indicated that around 10 per cent of staff had quit for the same reasons.

The BCC has urged the government to evolve policy to ‘help as many parents as possible stay in the workplace’. Currently, regulations state that every three and four-year-old in Britain is entitled to up to 15 hours of free early education and childcare per week, although the entitlement is set to increase to 30 hours per week from the start of 2017.

A third of participants confirmed that the availability of childcare was a ‘key issue in recruiting and retaining staff’.

High childcare costs have seen 12 per cent of their employees' productivity reduced and a further eight per cent said staff had changed roles within their business to compensate.

A Department for Education spokesman reiterated that in England, from September, parents would have up to 30 hours of childcare a week for three- and four-year-olds, ‘helping to remove the barriers that can stop them from working’.

The added: ”It is backed up by a record £6 billion per year investment in childcare by the end of the Parliament, as well as introducing tax-free childcare worth up to £2,000 per child per year."