On 4 May 2017, mayoral elections will be taking place across six regions in the country. Last year, we campaigned in the London mayoral elections calling on candidates to pledge support for our childcare proposal, Upfront: a childcare deposit guarantee, supporting parents with the upfront costs of childcare. We’re thrilled that London Mayor Sadiq Khan has now introduced Upfront for parents employed by organisations under the Greater London Authority (GLA). A welcome step in the right direction.
This year, we’re seeking to widen our reach by focusing on the Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region mayoral elections – two regions which are supported by our North West Gingerbread Office. In these regions, we run skills and employment programmes that support single parents to (re)enter the workplace.
Many single parents tell us that they want to work but the lack of affordable or flexible childcare prevents them from (re)entering the workplace or increasing their working hours. With over 100,000 single parent families in Greater Manchester and over 68,000 single parent families in the Liverpool City Region, now is the chance for the next Mayor to step up and make childcare more affordable.
What could the Mayor do?
Gingerbread is proposing that the new Mayor sets up 'Upfront: a childcare deposit guarantee'. Designed to support parents about to start a new job or increase their working hours, Upfront would help parents arrange childcare for their children ahead of their first pay cheque, with the City Council directly paying the deposits nurseries and childminders typically require. Many single parents tell us finding the money for the initial upfront cost, often a month’s fees in advance, can be hard – especially when they have not yet been paid. For some, it tips them into the red. Others tell us they have been forced to turn down work as they can’t afford the deposit needed to line up childcare until they have had their first pay packet through.
We’re calling on the mayoral candidates in the Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region elections to join us in making childcare more affordable for single parent families. The next Mayor has a unique opportunity to lead the way for single parent families in the North West.