Detailed analysis by Citizens Advice reveals that parents on low incomes or with unstable working hours are forced to rely on poorer quality childcare providers, because costs are too high.
The charity also warns that practical problems like a lack of flexibility and no evening availability are likely to “continue to be a barrier to parents” who want to work. 41 per cent of the charity’s clients saying the cost of childcare prevents them or their partner from increasing working hours or accepting a job.
Commenting on the report, NCT chief executive Belinda Phipps said:
“The findings from this research are disappointing but sadly not surprising. Parents tell us that they struggle to find affordable childcare that meets their needs. Although there has been progress over the past few years, there is still a gap between when parents go back to work and when they are eligible for the 15 hours of free childcare, and this is something politicians need to address.”