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High cost of childcare is forcing workers to cut hours

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Workers are being forced to reduce their hours, or quit their job altogether, because of the high cost of childcare.
According to a new report from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), more than one in four business leaders in the UK say that their employees have cut the amount of hours they work as a result of the issue.
The survey, which questioned more than 1,600 bosses after the impact of childcare costs on their business, also revealed that some workers had quit for the very same reason.
The BCC is now urging to Government to take a fresh look at policy to make sure as many British parents as possible find it financially viable to continue to work.
A spokesperson for the organisation said policy “should evolve to help as many parents as possible stay in the workplace.”
However, the government has said it is already providing more support than ever to working families.
Currently, every three and four year old child in Britain gets up to 15 hours of free child care each week. From next year, this entitlement is set to be increased to 30 hours per week.
However, many parents still find it difficult to find childcare and school arrangements which will fit around their working day.
The survey found that many businesses struggled to recruit and retain staff because of issues surrounding childcare.
Around 12 per cent said that their workforce’s productivity had dropped because of child care costs, while a further eight per cent said employees had switched roles within the firm because of trying to juggle work and children.
However, 40 per cent of firms which responded said plans to double the amount of child care available for free during 2017 would help the situation, but it wanted ministers to go further.
The BCC is now urging ministers to consider offering free child care for all until a child reaches school age.
BCC director general said the country’s child care system should be looked at as a key part of Britain’s business infrastructure, in the same way as energy, transport and broadband.
However, the Department for Education said it was already ploughing £6 billion per year into child care by the end of Parliament as well as introducing tax-free child care worth up to £2,000 per child each year.