Region facing shortage of childcare in summer holidays

Nearly two-thirds of working mothers in the West Midlands with primary school age children do not have sufficient childcare for the six-week school summer holidays, according to a new survey published by the Trades Union Congress.

The situation is even worse for single mums in the West Midlands, with four in five (80 per cent) telling the TUC that they don’t have adequate childcare for the upcoming holidays.

Working mums across the public and private sector in the West Midlands reported huge challenges in balancing their work and childcare, with three in five (61 per cent) saying they would find managing childcare in the holidays more difficult this year than previously.

Of those mums in the West Midlands who said they would find summer childcare more difficult this year, nearly one in five (18 per cent) said they had used all their annual leave allowance already to accommodate home schooling during previous lockdowns.

Around one in five (19 per cent) do not have their usual network of friends or family that they can rely on to help with their childcare this year.

One in seven (14 per cent) told the TUC they don’t have access to their usual school holiday summer clubs.

Previous TUC research has shown that working mums have picked up the lion’s share of the increase in caring responsibilities during the Covid-19 lockdowns and school closures. And this survey reveals that these school holidays will be yet another struggle for working mums.

TUC Midlands regional secretary Lee Barron said: “Women have borne the brunt of the pandemic, on the front line in key worker roles and at home. Working mums picked up the lion’s share of caring responsibilities while schools were closed, with many sacrificing hours and pay to do so.

“But while restrictions may be lifting and ministers talk about us getting back to normal, working mums are still feeling the impact of the pandemic. Most mums told us they don’t have enough childcare for the upcoming school holidays and are now facing a huge challenge managing their work and caring responsibilities this summer.

“It shouldn’t be this difficult. If ministers don’t act, we risk turning the clock back on generations of progress women have made at work.

“It’s clear parents are relying on flexibility more than ever to cope with the extra demands posed by the crisis. Let’s make sure everyone has stronger legal rights to flexible working arrangements.

“And I’d urge employers to be as supportive as they can to their staff who have kids, and not force them back to the office if working at home helps them balance their work and childcare.”

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News