Childcare crisis


Two-thirds of parents have turned down paid work that they needed to help them through the cost-of-living crisis, due to lack of available or affordable childcare, according to a survey by childcare app Bubble.

In the survey of over 1000 parents with children aged 0-5 years, 67 per cent of parents said they have considered leaving their jobs as they are buckling under the pressure of juggling childcare. And 9 in 10 parents are demanding more flexibility on where they can spend Government childcare benefits. It is estimated that families with young children are missing out on £15,000 worth of annual income due to a lack of childcare.

Parents nationwide are patching together a combination of friends and family as babysitters, using tablets to keep kids distracted, or paying for additional support such as a babysitter to try and keep on top of the work that falls outside of traditional childcare hours. Nearly half of UK parents (46 per cent) said they’re constantly tired as a result of not having childcare that’s flexible enough and a third said it’s taking a toll on their mental health. Many parents admitted that the situation was impacting on their personal relationship with their partner.

The knock-on effect is also seeing grandparents forced to retire earlier than planned, with one in four retiring early to pick up the childcare slack. And more than 1 in 10 grandparents have dipped into their savings and pension pot to help support their children with childcare costs.

The UK government provides all families with tax-free childcare, equating to up to £2,000 a year of support for formal providers such as nurseries and childminders. However, while 1.3 million families are eligible, around 800,000 are not taking up the help.

Bubble is a flexible childcare app used by more than 200,000 people in the UK.