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Working BME and disabled parents paying higher childcare costs

Black and minority ethnic (BME) and disabled parents are spending a higher proportion of their income on childcare than white or non-disabled workers, making them more susceptible to the affects of the nationwide cost-of-living increase.

Research published by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) found 32% of BME and disabled parents spent a third of their salary on childcare, while 12% had childcare expenses which were more than half of their monthly income.

With inflation reaching 4.2% in the UK and energy prices rising by 50%, large childcare expenses will add to working parents' costs – particularly when one group are paying a higher premium.

In contrast, only 16% of white workers spend over a third of their income on childcare, and 6% pay for childcare costs which were more than half their monthly salary.

More on parents struggling with the cost of living increase:

Parents struggling with childcare costs

Soaring cost of living prompts calls for financial support for employees

Parents in need of more support from employers

Speaking to HR magazine, Jane van Zyl, chief executive of work/life balance charity Working Families, said the prohibitive cost of childcare is forcing parents to reduce their hours or leave the workforce entirely.

She said: “No parent should be forced out of the labour market for this reason. Working Families is calling on the government to meet the full delivery costs of early years providers.

"Investing in the early years sector would be an easy way to level up, providing fairer access to high-quality education provision for infants, enabling parents to work and providing employment opportunities in the early years sector in every community.” 

Regarding disabled parents, 35% spent over a third of their salary on childcare costs, with 15% spending half of their salary. 

Overall, a third (32%) of parents across all age groups claimed to spend more than 10% of their income on childcare.

The TUC survey polled over 2,000 parents across England and Wales.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said the responsibility rests with the government to supplement the childcare industry to help make services more affordable. 

“Every worker in Britain should be paid a wage they can live on – that goes up with the cost of living," she said. “And the government must commit to a boost in childcare funding to ensure decent affordable childcare for everyone.

"We desperately need a plan to get wages rising across the economy, or too many families will have to choose between turning their heating on or putting food on the table."

The Child Poverty Action Group, along with 50 other prominent organisations across the UK, called for the government to increase benefits by at least 7% in April to match inflation.