UK – One in four women forced to give up work as childcare cuts bite

Cash General (Pic:Rex)Cuts are bitingTHE ConDems’ ruthless benefits cuts have forced one in four mums to pack in their jobs – unable to afford the rising cost of childcare.

In further evidence of Dastardly David Cameron’s War on Women, a survey by the website found that 24% of mothers have had to quit work, while 16% had reduced their hours.

And women will also bear the brunt of the Coalition’s decision to slash public services – a TUC study, out today, shows that they are twice as likely as men to be employed in the public sector.

Measures introduced by Chancellor George Osborne last year saw the amount parents can claim towards the cost of childcare through the Working Tax Credit has been cut from 80% to 70%. This has cost the average family an estimated £436 a year.

At the same time, the rules for claiming Working Tax Credit have been tightened. Couples with children must now work at least 24 hours a week between them, up from 16 hours, before they are eligible.

Mums have also lost the baby element of child tax credits, had child benefit axed or frozen, and lost out when the Health in Pregnancy Grant was axed this year.

Many have had no option but to give up their jobs – especially as childcare costs in Britain are among the highest in the world. On average, parents shell out £97 a week for 25 hours care, but in London and the South East that sum is nearer to £115.

Gillian Nissim, founder of, said yesterday: “These results show that for a sizeable number of women tax credits mean the difference between working and not working.

“Recent surveys suggest childcare costs are only likely to increase. Losing experienced women from the workforce cannot be good for business or the economy.”

Where you live also determines your job prospects.

Today’s TUC findings reveals that people in the North East, North West and West Midlands are more likely to be unemployed than before the recession first bit in December 2007. The study, ahead of ­unemployment figures announced tomorrow, also revealed the UK now has a “jobs gap” of 158,000 – that is the number of people out of work today compared with December 2007.

And there are big regional variations. The jobs gap is biggest in Yorkshire and Humber (57,000 fewer jobs), the South West (54,000) and the West Midlands (51,000). TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “What’s worrying is that while the national jobs outlook has shown some improvement, it’s getting worse for women in most parts of the country.

“Women are more than twice as likely as men to have public service jobs, so they are suffering from the Government’s decision to cull public sector jobs and impose a two-year pay-freeze. Government austerity is jeopardising our economic prospects.”

In yet another blow for women, the Institute for Public Policy Research’s analysis of official statistics found that one in four unemployed females have been out of work for over a year.

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