Many argue there is still an unacceptable gap in funded childcare between the end of maternity leave and the start of school.

Responding to the latest research, Adam Marshall, Director General at the British Chambers of Commerce said:

“Firms across the UK are losing talented staff, often because of the availability and high cost of childcare.

“At a time when economic growth is softening, and skills gaps and recruitment difficulties are hindering businesses, the government should consider the childcare system as part of Britain’s core business infrastructure – in the same way that it thinks of energy, transport, or broadband.

“Government must take a clear and detailed look at the costs and benefits of a universal childcare entitlement, to bridge the gap between parental leave and the start of school. This could take the form of a family account that enables parents to select the support that’s right for their working patterns from the market. In time, this could help businesses raise productivity, and help more parents stay in work. As businesses have evolved to become more flexible, government policy should also evolve – to help as many working parents as possible stay in the workplace.

“Expanded childcare options are good for families, good for businesses, and good for the economy.”

Pay-neutral employees

The impact of high childcare costs means many employees are pay-neutral – meaning they are effectively working for nothing because their  pay only covers the cost of child care and other necessary costs of working, like travel.

For more information on current help with childcare visit the Government’s website here .Gov