New polling by Survation on behalf of thinktanks Common Wealth and Women’s Budget Group and campaign group Pregnant then Screwed finds 66% of voters in Red Wall constituencies support free, universal childcare.
- 66% of voters in Red Wall constituencies either somewhat or strongly support ‘a policy of free universal childcare’
- The policy is opposed by 14% of voters in Red Wall constituencies
- A further 15% of Red Wall voters neither supported nor opposed the policy
The UK has among the most expensive childcare in Europe. Among wealthy countries only Slovakia and Switzerland have more expensive childcare costs.
Research from the Women’s Budget Group shows that 90% of the investment required to support a policy of free, universal childcare would be recouped through additional revenue and savings generated by the policy. The research also shows a free childcare system would also generate 1.7 million jobs.
Amelia Horgan, Editorial Strategist at Common Wealth, said:
“This polling shows that free universal childcare is a vote winner in the Red Wall. Decommodifying care is vital for building the social infrastructure needed for a more equal society.”
Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director of Women’s Budget Group, said:
“This polling sends a resounding message to politicians on all sides that it’s time to prioritise investment in social infrastructure. Modelling by WBG found that a free universal childcare system would create 1.7 million jobs with 90% of the investment recouped through savings in social security and additional revenue. Despite the best efforts of the brilliant people working in the sector, childcare in the UK is broken: parents can’t afford fees, childcare staff can’t afford to live, and providers can’t afford to stay open. Recently we’ve seen countries such as Canada and Australia make significant investments in childcare recognising its essential role in enabling maternal employment and closing the attainment gap for children. The UK is behind the curve on this. Without significant investment in childcare, we’ll continue to see women ostracised from the labour market and employers struggling to fill vacancies, and alongside that the Government will fail on its commitments to both gender equality and levelling-up.”
Joeli Brearley, Founder of Pregnant then Screwed, said:
“This childcare system doesn’t work for parents or employers. It is having a devastating impact on women’s economic empowerment. Our own research of 26,000 parents showed us that 43% of mothers have considered leaving their jobs as a direct result of childcare costs and now we have the data to prove that 66% of voters support the idea of free universal childcare for preschool aged children. It is time for the Government to take this seriously and invest in good quality, affordable, accessible childcare for all children.”