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Debate the cost of childcare: join us

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The UK has some of the world’s most expensive childcare: a debate will ask what can be done about it.

On Thursday, 17 January, at 9.30 a.m., the Resolution Foundation will be bringing together leading experts to debate why the cost of childcare in the UK is so high, and what needs to be done to make it more affordable.

Women’s Views on News will be live blogging from the debate.

You can follow it either on this site or on Twitter via the hashtag #childcare.

The debate takes place following the report ‘Counting the Costs of Childcare’, published by the Resolution Foundation at the end of last year, which found that a couple both earning the minimum wage with two children needing childcare would be as little as £4 a week better off if the second earner returned to full-time work.

And while investment in childcare provision has meant most families now spend less of their disposable income on childcare, the cost of childcare in the UK is still among the highest of all the OECD countries.

The report found that progress has slowed recently.  In 2011 government reduced the proportion of childcare costs parents can claim back through Working Tax Credits from 80 per cent to 70 per cent.

This means that a couple earning one and a half times the average wage, with two under fives in full time childcare now spend 19 per cent of their disposable income on childcare.

If the cuts had not happened they would have spent less than 15 per cent.

Middle income families are hardest hit. A couple earning £44,440 with two under-fives in full-time childcare is just 17 per cent better off than a couple on minimum wages after taxes, benefits and childcare costs.

And while single parents on low incomes get support with childcare, those on higher incomes do not, which acts as a barrier to work.

In 2011 the Resolution Foundation found that 1 million women were missing from the UK workforce because of high childcare costs, and this was affecting the ability of low and middle-income families to improve their financial position.

On Thursday 17 January Justine Roberts, chief executive, Mumsnet; Anand Shukla, chief executive of the Daycare Trust; Baroness Sally Morgan, Chair, OFSTED; and Vidhya Alakeson, deputy chief executive, Resolution Foundation, will discuss why this is and what can be done about it.

Join us.

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