Young Women’s Trust responds to government proposals to reduce nursery staff-to-child ratios in order to cut childcare costs

The government has today announced a consultation on a package of measures to reduce childcare costs and increase availability, including: 

  • Increasing the number of children over two that a single member of staff can look after from four to five,  
  • Supporting childminders, including by reducing upfront fees. 

Responding to the plans, Claire Reindorp, CEO of Young Women’s Trust, says: 

“The childcare system could be key to boosting our economy by unleashing young women’s skills and talents into the labour market. That vision is sadly lacking in this proposal. Instead, it fails on multiple counts: it is neither visionary enough to transform our fundamentally broken childcare system, nor does it provide the immediate investment needed to help young women who are struggling right now.   

“Meanwhile, allowing nursery workers to look after more children is simply going to put more pressure on an already overworked and underpaid workforce – many of whom are young women themselves. This helps no one. 

“The cost of living crisis is driving young mums to despair – in our recent survey, two thirds of young mums told us that they’re filled with dread at the state of their finances, and 3 in 10 have even been forced to go hungry so their children can eat. A potential saving for nurseries, which may or may not eventually be passed on to parents, is going to do nothing to help young women who are teetering on a financial cliff edge right now, wanting to take on more hours at work but unable to because of the crippling costs of childcare. 

“Flexible childcare is particularly important for young women who are less likely than older parents to be in 9 to 5 jobs. Childminders can often provide that additional flexibility. We welcome the government’s intention to provide more financial support to reduce the upfront costs of joining the profession.” 

Note to editors

Figures are from Just Getting By: Young Women’s Trust Annual Survey 2022 – a survey of 4,075 young women aged 18 to 30, carried out by Yonder Data Solutions on behalf of Young Women’s Trust between 11 and 19 April 2022.