End the Childcare
Childcare in the West of England is increasingly unaffordable for families and waiting lists are long.
Childcare workers are often underpaid and undervalued.
Childcare should be considered infrastructure.
It is time to end the childcare crisis now.
This website is currently dedicated to a campaign to fix our local childcare crisis.
We believe that childcare should be seen as an important part of our Region's infrastructure.
We believe that it should be strategically planned and supported by the West of England Combined authority, and have clear strategic outcomes in our Strategic Planning documents and in our local industrial strategy.
We believe that childcare should be affordable and accessible for families and that childcare providers should be paid a fair living wage for the very important work that they do.
We know that there is some excellent work being done locally by the Bristol Early Years Network and some fantastic campaigns by national organisations such as Pregnant then Screwed, The Childcare Levy, and Save The Children who are calling on the Government for an independent review of early years childcare.
We actively support these national campaigns but we also believe that more can be done at a local level to tackle the childcare crisis in the short term.
For those lucky enough to get childcare in the West of England (many childcare providers currently have lengthy waiting lists), families are then faced with crippling bills. Four days a week for an under-2 at a childminder in Bristol can have a starting cost of £10,000 a year (after Tax-Free childcare is applied), with nurseries costing upward of £12,000 for similar cover. Essentially, families are spending on average 40% of their net income on childcare, which for those earning less than the median salary, is completely unaffordable, sending families into debt to work.
A big part of the problem for many early years providers is the Government underpayment of 15- and 30-hours free childcare. As a result, there is a growing expenses gap which is often either passed on to the families of young children, results in childcare professionals working for poverty wages or, in extreme cases, can result in the childcare provider closing permanently. This has caused a pressure on places and a recruitment crisis in the industry.
We call on local leaders in the West of England Combined Authority, our MP's and our local constituent councils to meet urgently to:
Work together to develop a plan for Childcare as infrastructure, ensuring it has a prominent place within key documents;
Ensure that more childcare providers are aware of and signed up to the Bristol Standard;
Develop and deliver a plan to tackle the recruitment crisis within the industry, working with employers, education institutions and trade unions;
Lobby government and support established organisations like Pregnant Then Screwed, to call on the Government for an independent review;
Campaign to #EndtheChildcare crisis now.