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Covid-19: Childcare

Volume 684: debated on Wednesday 25 November 2020

What steps she is taking to support women returning to work to access childcare during the covid-19 outbreak. (909394)

The Government are supporting childcare provision during the pandemic by funding the free childcare entitlement for two, three and four-year-olds with £3.6 billion in 2020-21. We are giving grants and loans to businesses and ensuring that childcare providers can access the coronavirus job retention scheme, where necessary.

The Prime Minister has urged everybody who can do so to work at home until April, and obviously many people have been doing that for the past eight months, but childcare responsibilities are still falling largely on women. As a result, recent data has shown that 67% of women with children—compared with just 16% of fathers—are likely to quit their job because they cannot balance childcare with work. The Minister talked about the action that the Government are taking, as did the Minister for Women and Equalities earlier, but it is clearly not working, so what more will the Government do to reset this imbalance?

The Government have introduced 30 hours of free childcare for eligible working parents of three and four-year-olds. We have ensured that the childcare sector has been able to stay open to support parents to continue to work. We are investing £1 billion from 2021 to help to create more high-quality, wraparound and holiday childcare places, both before and after school, and we will continue to push the fact that childcare needs to be distributed equally between both parents.