Our look at the challenges facing single parents to find and sustain childcare, and the extent to which the increase in support for childcare costs under universal credit will help low income families.
We found the lack of affordable childcare is still a strong barrier to work and study. Recently, increased fees and new ‘hidden’ costs (eg paying for meals and activities) are also taking its toll. Many single parents are now facing debt and childcare arrears from trying to manage high childcare costs.
While more help under universal credit is definitely welcome, many single parents will not see the benefit for a long time – universal credit won’t be fully rolled out until at least 2022. Our analysis also shows that many will still not see much progress even with the extra support – those with high childcare costs, particularly if they’re on a low wage, will still be far off a decent income and will lose out if they work more hours.