A Hammersmith mother visited Parliament to urge politicians to reform childcare support for working parents.
Sophie McFarland, who has a five-month-old son, Rémy, was part of a group who met with MPs at an event hosted by charities the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) and the Family and Childcare Trust to support parents being squeezed out of the workplace by expensive childcare costs.
The mother-of-one joined the charities last Tuesday (March 3) in calling on all political parties to commit to improved childcare support - ahead of the May General Election.
She said: "I’m self-employed and my work schedule changes week to week which makes it difficult to predict the days I need childcare.
"The childcare options in my area are inflexible and hugely expensive so I rely on the support of my family to look after Rémy a couple hours at a time.
"My local MP Andy Slaughter was unable to attend the event in parliament but has since contacted me to organise a meeting next week. I really look forward to meeting him and discussing my concerns about childcare in the area."
NCT figures show 80% of women plan to return to work after having children and childcare costs for under twos have risen 33% in the last five years.
It isn’t just high costs that are putting working parents under pressure. With only 43% of local councils in England reporting sufficient levels of childcare for working parents finding quality childcare is also an increasing issue.
Susie Parsons, chief executive at NCT said: “Parents across the country are crying out for more childcare support. Those with children under two are particularly squeezed because they are not yet eligible for the statutory 15 hours of free childcare.
“There is lots of rhetoric from political parties about supporting working parents but it’s time to ‘walk the talk’ and commit to policies that will make an actual difference. Giving all parents 15 hours of free childcare from the moment they return to work is an essential start.”
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