29 May 2020 

Fawcett has led a letter to the Prime Minister calling for funding for childcare infrastructure to be prioritised as lockdown is eased, and importantly for substantial long-term investment in the sector. It is estimated that a significant proportion of childcare providers will go to the wall with a loss of 10,000 businesses or 150,000 childcare places. Because of the unequal impact of caring roles, this catastrophic loss of childcare provision will result in fewer mothers being able to return to work. 

This comes off the back of the Prime Minister’s remarks at the Liaison Committee on May 27th where he acknowledged that female workers have been harder hit by the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis. In particular, with reference to additional assistance to the childcare sector Boris Johnson said he would do “whatever it takes to help get women back into work” and that “childcare is absolutely critical for the success of our economy”.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has found that mothers in couple families are one and half times more likely than fathers to have lost or quit their jobs since the crisis began. They are also more likely to have been furloughed and are now 9 percentage points less likely to be working for pay. Mothers are also taking on a significantly larger share of unpaid work in the home, even when they are also trying to juggle this with paid work. The picture will be worse for single parents.

The letter was signed by: 

Sam Smethers, Chief Executive, Fawcett Society
Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director, Women's Budget Group
Rosalind Bragg, Director, Maternity Action
Joeli Brearley, Founder and Director, Pregnant Then Screwed
Victoria Benson, CEO, Gingerbread
Mark Gale, Policy and Campaigns Manager, Young Women’s Trust
Thomas Lawson, Chief Executive, Turn2us
Jane van Zyl, Chief Executive, Working Families
Justine Roberts, founder and CEO, Mumsnet
Jessica Figueras, Chair of Trustees, NCT

Read the full letter here.