A CRY FOR HELP: THREE-QUARTERS OF MOTHERS WHO PAY FOR CHILDCARE SAY THAT IT DOES NOT MAKE FINANCIAL SENSE FOR THEM TO WORK
- 1 in 4 parents (26%) who use formal childcare, say that the cost is now more than 75% of their take home pay
- 1 in 3 (32%) parents who use formal childcare say they had to rely on some form of debt to cover childcare costs
- 96% of families with a child under three years old are likely to vote for the political party with the best childcare pledge in the next election
- Pregnant Then Screwed has today launched ‘A Cry For Help’, a campaign created in partnership with Saatchi & Saatchi where the shrill sound of a baby’s cry will be played across Spotify and on billboards around London
DATE: 2nd March 2023; A new national report into the childcare crisis from Pregnant Then Screwed has revealed that a staggering 3 in 4 mothers (76%) who pay for childcare, say it no longer makes financial sense for them to work.
This new report, which surveyed more than 24,000 parents, has revealed the knock-on effect of ever-increasing childcare costs; in fact, 1 in 10 (11%) parents now say that childcare costs are the same or more than their take-home pay per day. For a staggering 1 in 5 parents (22%), childcare costs are more than half of their household income.
The UK’s childcare costs are now in the top three most expensive across the developed world (according to data from the OECD) and this is driving up debt for families, with 1 in 3 (32%) parents who use formal childcare admitting that they have had to rely on some form of debt to cover their childcare costs. Additionally, 4 in 10 parents (45%) who use childcare have shared that today they often find themselves choosing between paying for childcare and household essentials.
To highlight the devastating findings of the report, Pregnant Then Screwed has partnered with Saatchi and Saatchi to launch a new campaign, ‘A Cry For Help,’ which uses the piercing and unignorable sound of a baby’s cry to bring to life the sheer scale of the childcare crisis, and to symbolise the cry for help from parents across the UK.
Born from the scientific insight that human brains are hardwired to respond to the sound of a baby crying, the campaign cry has been developed in partnership with Professor Lauren Stewart, Professor of Psychology and founder of the Music Mind and Brain MSc course at Goldsmiths, University of London. To ensure it is impossible to ignore, the cry will play out from Ocean Outdoor streetside billboards and across Spotify and social media from Friday 3rd March across the UK, as part of an urgent demand for a clear investment plan for the childcare sector.
Joeli Brearley, founder and CEO of Pregnant Then Screwed, comments,
“This is our ultimate cry for help. Parents are at the end of their tether. Many have now left the labour market, or work fewer hours, because our childcare system has been abandoned by this Government. We don’t just have a cost of living crisis in the UK, we have a cost of working crisis with 1 in 10 mothers now paying to go to work; and that’s if they can even secure a childcare place – we’ve lost thousands of providers in the last year because they simply cannot afford to remain open.’’
She continues, ‘’Rather than focussing on ‘getting people off the golf course’ why not invest in the vital infrastructure parents need to be able to work? It’s important to remember that this isn’t just a parenting issue, this is an issue for the whole of society – we are hemorrhaging talented, skilled women from our healthcare sector, from teaching and other vital public services because of our unaffordable, dysfunctional, inaccessible childcare system. The question isn’t whether we can afford to invest in childcare, it is whether we can afford not to. Unless we want to lock parents out of the labour market entirely then we need investment and we need it now.’’
Women with young children feel let down by the Government; 98% of women using childcare think that the Government is not doing enough to support them. The data shows that 88% of families with a child under 16 and 96% of families with a child under 3 are likely to vote for the political party with the best childcare pledge at the next election.
Franki Goodwin, Chief Creative Officer, Saatchi & Saatchi comments, “If you’ve ever tried to do anything whilst there’s the sound of a baby crying nearby… it’s impossible… even if it’s not your baby. Humans are hardwired to take notice of this sound and we’re proud to have partnered with Pregnant Then Screwed to create a campaign impossible to ignore and we hope that in these weeks before Mother’s Day, our message will be heard and listened to.”
Professor Lauren Stewart, Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London says, “Research has shown that a baby’s cry is impossible to ignore, whether we’re parents or not – the sound’s high pitch, long duration, and varied utterances are particularly associated with strong aversive and physical responses, including increased heart rate and sweating. I worked with Saatchi & Saatchi and synthesized the existing evidence to create a bespoke cry for this campaign, designed to be the most unignorable and aversive cry possible. Put simply, an infant’s cry is a natural example of a perfectly tuned mechanism for attention and action. The cry works like an alarm or siren that just can’t be silenced.”
Becca Lyon, Head of Child Poverty at Save the Children UK, said: “The evidence of our broken childcare system is there in plain sight – it is not working for parents, children, or providers. These statistics confirm what we are hearing from the parents we support – many of them would love to get back to work or increase their hours, but they simply can’t afford to.
“We need a childcare guarantee – universally accessible, affordable childcare from the end of parental leave to the end of primary school. This would allow all children to benefit from quality childcare and early education and help parents get into work.”
Notes to editor:
*Case studies available on request
Contact: [email protected]
Tel: 07756 525 004
About the research:
Data analysis was powered by Women in Data® with a team led by Taisiya Merkulova.
A sample of 3540 was randomly selected from a pool of 24,193 respondents to the survey.
The sample is targeting national representation and is nationally representative on gender, region and social grade.
1 in 4 (26.15%) parents say that the cost of childcare is more than 75% of their take-home pay
1 in 5 (22.19%) parents say that the cost of childcare is more than half of their household pay
1 in 3 (32.39%) parents who use formal childcare say they had to rely on some form of debt to cover childcare costs
Three-quarters (76%) of mothers who pay for childcare say that it doesn’t make financial sense for them to go to work (this is 67% for all parents using childcare with a child under 5)
88.32% of families with a child under 16 and 95.76% of families with a child under 3 said they are likely to vote for the political party with the best childcare pledge at the next election
98% of women using childcare think that the Government is not doing enough to support parents with children
Project Lead from Women in Data, Taisiya Merkulova had this to say about why they volunteered to work on the State of The Nation analysis “Women In Data® has been working and will continue to work to ensure gender parity across all levels within the organizations. And we will not be able to accomplish that as long as something as fundamental as parental leave and childcare allow anyone, regardless of their stage in life, to make the choice without sacrifice. Supporting Pregnant Then Screwed in establishing the State of The Nation baseline is a step in holding everyone accountable to making a meaningful difference for the better future.”
About Pregnant Then Screwed
Pregnant Then Screwed is a charity that seeks to protect, support and promote the rights of pregnant women and mothers. We carry out extensive research into the effects of systemic cultural and institutional discrimination during pregnancy and motherhood. Our support services include: a free employment rights helpline, a free benefits advice clinic, a free mental health support line, pro bono legal advice and a tribunal mentor scheme that supports women who are considering legal action against their employer. We campaign for changes that will end the motherhood penalty and we support working mums to rebuild their confidence and find work that works for them.
About Saatchi & Saatchi
Saatchi & Saatchi have a simple ambition to create the most influential creative ideas for modern Britain. This spirit is brought to bear on transformative work for clients including EE, BT, Direct Line, GSK, Britvic, Pilgrims and Siemens, alongside recent new business wins including Subway and AlTi.
The Saatchi & Saatchi network unites 114 offices in 67 countries and 6,500 people. Saatchi & Saatchi is part of the Publicis Groupe.