PRESS RELEASE: WEN Wales welcomes Committee Report on Childcare but calls on Welsh Government to be bolder to increase access to childcare
WEN Wales welcomes The Senedd’s Equality and Social Justice Committee report ‘Minding the Future: the childcare barrier facing working parents’ and is delighted to see that some of the most important recommendations made by WEN Wales have been taken up. These include the committee recommending:
- Delivering of universal wrap-around care including after-school clubs to accommodate the varied working lives of parents. This will especially help parents on lower incomes who are more likely to be employed in atypical hours, such as insecure work, shift work or on zero-hours contracts.
- Strengthening the childcare provision for children with additional learning needs, including increasing the amount of funding available to improve provision for children with disabilities and/or additional or complex needs
- Lowering the income threshold and addressing eligibility criteria so that the child-care offer goes to those that need it most, rather than those earning up to £100k. This should help address inequality as children with higher income parents are likely to have good access to childcare already.
However, WEN Wales was disappointed that two of our key recommendations were not taken up:
- making the Childcare Offer available from an earlier age, ideally from 6 months
- extending the Childcare Offer to non-working parents to support them in seeking employment
Catherine Fookes Director of WEN Wales said:
“Whilst we are pleased that the Committee has shone a light on the major lack of childcare for disabled children, and that they recommend delivering universal wrap-around care and lowering income eligibility thresholds to reduce inequality, we would have liked to see recommendations around extending the Childcare Offer to non-working parents to support them into work. This is critical if we are to reduce gender inequality and reduce the unpaid care burden that lands mainly on women.”
WEN Wales’ written consultation response https://wenwales.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/WEN-Wales-Childcare-and-parental-employment.pdf