65% OF PARENTS IN SCOTTISH HOUSEHOLDS HAVE REDUCED THEIR HOURS OR LEFT THE WORKFORCE DUE TO CHILDCARE CHALLENGES
43% of Scottish parents can not afford to have any more children due to childcare costs
DATE: 2 October 2023; Today, Pregnant Then Screwed has published new data which looks at the cost of being a parent today. The new data has uncovered that two-thirds (65%) of parents in Scotland are leaving the workforce or reducing their hours due to the cost and availability of childcare.
The survey asked 1,129 parents questions about the state of childcare in Scotland and the impact this is having on parents. As providers are having to raise the cost of childcare across Scotland, we asked parents what impact these cost increases were having on their families. The research found that 43% of Scottish parents that have seen costs increases in their childcare settings in the last 10 months shared that they can’t afford to have any more children as a result of childcare costs and cost of living pressures today. Additionally, a quarter are having to rely on family and friends for childcare, and 17% of parents have had to cut down on essential items, including heating, clothing and food. As a result, 1 in 5 (22%) parents have had to use credit cards or borrow money – taking them into debt just to get by.
The impact is hitting parents from the get-go, with 65% of mothers with a child under 12 months saying that they either have already or will have to cut their maternity leave short due to cost of living pressures. 1 in 5 of these mothers are only able to take 6 months of their planned leave, and for 1 in 10 mothers (10%), they will have to return in fewer than 4 months of maternity leave. This stress is piling on to parents, with over half of parents (55%) revealing that they currently have high levels of anxiety with issues relating to money.
Part of the challenge that parents are facing in Scotland is nursery closures, with almost one in ten parents (8%) experiencing the closure of a childcare setting that they were using in the last 12 months, compared to 6.8% in England. And a lack of availability, too – as 34% of parents shared that their local provider has a waiting list of 10 months or more, this figure drops to 25% for the rest of the UK.
Carole Erskine, Head of Policy and Campaigns in Scotland from Pregnant Then Screwed, comments, “That there is a price on being a parent today is brutal. It is truly shocking that almost two-thirds of Parents are being forced to reduce their hours or leave the workforce entirely due to the cost and availability of childcare, and there is no end in sight. As a result, many parents can’t afford to have the children that they would like to have. Nurseries aren’t to blame for these costs; they are continuing to buckle under the financial pressures of underfunding. We need to invest in our childcare sector in Scotland properly and to put families first.”
To read the full report, head to Pregnant Then Screwed.
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About the research:
The survey was completed online between 18 August and 3rd September; there were 1,129 respondents, all parents with at least one child under 5 years based in Scotland.