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Time to end the brain drain of talented young women excluded from London’s workforce – Caroline Pidgeon

March 17, 2016 6:25 AM

In 2013 just 63.3% of mothers in London were in employment, compared with 72.9% nationally, the lowest level of employment for any UK region

Since 2012 the cost of a part time nursery place for an under 2 year old has risen by 10.5%, in contrast to an increase of 7.7% nationally

The number of registered childminders in London has recently fallen by 13%, from 9900 in 2010 to 8585 in 2013

It is time to help parents, particularly mothers, with the challenge of childcare in the capital if we are to meet the needs of London's economy and for London to be a truly family friendly city - is the key overarching finding in a report on childcare in London published today by Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group Leader Caroline Pidgeon AM

Caroline Pidgeon's report highlights a number of practical measures that could be taken by the Greater London Authority and London employers to help tackle this issue and ensure childcare provision is more flexible, more widely available and more affordable for London parents.

The report's recommendations include:

  • The GLA and other organisations in the wider GLA Group (TfL, Metropolitan Police Service and London Fire Service) should offer interest free loans for employees to meet the initial costs of childcare registration at a nursery which can cost up to £1500. The adoption of this policy should become an example of good practice amongst businesses across London.
  • When GLA land is released for schools it should be standard practice that nursery provision is also provided
  • London Boroughs should be encouraged to extend business rate relief to childcare providers
  • The Mayor of London should establish a Childcare Fund with support targeted at improving wraparound and childcare options covering the longer hours many London employees have to work. One potential way of financing the fund would be through a hotel levy.
  • More childminders should be trained to help support families with wraparound flexible childcare.

Highlighting why all these measures are needed Caroline Pidgeon AM said:

"It is crystal clear that London has fewer working mothers largely due to the lack of suitable or affordable childcare."

"This is a serious issue for hundreds of thousands of London families, but it also has a huge knock on effect for London's economy. When so many London businesses are crying out for skilled employees it simply makes no sense to have so many talented women feeling unable to re-enter the workforce simply because they can't find the childcare they need. It is time to end the brain drain of talented women who are ultimately excluded from London's workforce."

"A more family friendly London would be good for families and good for London businesses."