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12 months of 2023: March

As we reach the end of the year, our 12 days of Christmas countdown revisits the key events of each month.

In March 2023, childcare costs were a strain on working mothers, the cost of living crisis continued and the government delayed raising the state pension age.


Childcare costs forcing mothers to quit work

Three quarters (76%) of mothers who pay for childcare say it no longer makes financial sense for them to work, a study by mothers’ rights campaign group Pregnant then Screwed has shown.

A quarter of parents who rely on childcare (26%) said it now costs them more than 75% of their take-home pay.

Analysis from the Trades Union Congress (TUC) found in June 2022 the average yearly childcare cost for a child under two years old had risen by 44% since 2010, from £4,992 to £7,212, a monthly bill of £600. 

Lauren Fabianski, communications director at Pregnant Then Screwed, HR magazine: “The whole sector is on its knees, meanwhile we are haemorrhaging talented, skilled women from our labour market.”

Cost of living crisis affecting women more than men

Women in the UK are significantly more likely than men to earn less than a real Living Wage, leaving them vulnerable to the cost of living crisis.

Over 2 million women (14% of all women in the UK) are paid less than the Real Living Wage, compared with 1.4 million men (9% of men) in the UK, according to new research from The Living Wage Foundation.

Women are also much more likely to be in precarious work as 13% of women in shift work in the UK are on a zero-hours contract, compared with 9% of men in the same position.


Government delays raising state pension age

The UK government has decided not to bring forward the date when the state pension age is due to rise from 67 to 68.

The change was initially supposed to occur between 2044 and 2046 under the Pensions Act 2007.

An independent review in 2017 recommended the change be brought forward to between 2037 and 2039, which the government initially accepted.

Now, as reported in Financial Times, the government has accepted recommendations from a second independent review (due to be published in May 2023), which recommends that at least 10 years' notice should be given about an increase in state pension age.


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