The coalition wants to remove blockages to people returning to work, and one of the most complex problems is the cost of childcare. The Observer covers a report due out this week by the Resolution Foundation, which claims that it is barely worthwhile for a second earner in a family to work full-time because of the high cost of childcare.
But though ministers from both parties agree that the costs of nursery care and childminders are a problem for parents who want to start work, or increase their working hours – and have set up a commission on childcare to investigate this issue – the solution may not be one that the coalition finds easy to agree on. New early years minister Liz Truss’ views on deregulating the sector are well-known: she believes that there is far too much box-ticking and regulation which is putting off professionals from entering and remaining in the sector. Before joining the government, she also authored a pamphlet for CentreForum recommending changing the ratio of children to childminder in order to drive down costs. But while they recognise the need for radical reform, the Liberal Democrats are nervous about too much deregulation, arguing that some of it helps childminders advertise themselves as reputable to parents.
Truss has been keeping a relatively low profile since her promotion in September’s reshuffle, but she will not stay quiet for long. The government’s childcare commission will report soon, while Labour sees the issue as a key 2015 battleground. But it could well be a battleground between the two governing parties, too.Tags: Childcare, Liz Truss, UK politics