Overwhelming majority of employers want Childcare Vouchers reopened to new entrants

FOR IMMEDATE RELEASE

Overwhelming majority of employers want Childcare Vouchers reopened to new entrants

  • Ahead of next week’s Budget, a survey of more than 700 employers reveals 96 per cent want Childcare Vouchers reopened to new entrants.
  • Nearly 80 per cent said the Childcare Voucher scheme helps the working parents they employ be more productive.

96 per cent of employers want the Childcare Voucher scheme to be reopened to new entrants, according to a major survey of over 700 employers from the Childcare Voucher Providers Association (CVPA).

Nearly 80 per cent of employers who took part – 62 per cent of which represent small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – said that the popular workplace benefit helps the parents they employ to be more productive. An overwhelming majority (97 per cent) also said Childcare Vouchers help them provide a supportive environment for working parents and their families.

The Childcare Voucher scheme closed to new entrants on 4th October and has been fully replaced with Tax-Free Childcare – this provides less support to lower and middle earners and provides no support to single earner families. Overall, thousands (potentially hundreds of thousands) of working families will be worse off.

The CVPA is calling on government to use the forthcoming Budget on 29th October to re-open Childcare Vouchers to new entrants. Commenting on the survey’s findings, Jacquie Mills, Chair of the CVPA said:

“Our employer survey is another wake-up call for government – hundreds of businesses which represent thousands of employees across the country want the scheme re-opened because the parents they employ will struggle to manage without it.

Employers recognise that Childcare Vouchers are pro-family, flexible, and allow working parents greater choice when it comes to paying for childcare.

The government has the opportunity to support these families by reopening Childcare Vouchers at the Autumn Budget. This would be simple, add no extra costs, and would make a significant difference to a huge number of people – the government should seize this opportunity”.

As a large employer, Nottingham City Council took part in the survey. Commenting on the impact of the Childcare Voucher closure, Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Early Intervention and Early Years, Cllr David Mellen, said:

“The Childcare Voucher scheme closure goes against the principles of fairness and transparency – parents simply weren’t given enough time or information to make an informed decision about which childcare scheme works best for them. As a large employer, Nottingham City Council believes Childcare Vouchers should be reopened to new entrants, alongside Tax-Free Childcare, to give working parents that choice.”

Notes for editors:

Contact: Beatrice Allen on 020 3102 3626 or at beatriceallen@wacomms.co.uk

Full survey results:

  • 714 respondents, 61.9 per cent represent SMEs (fewer than 250 employees).
  • 79.24 per cent strongly agree or agree Childcare Vouchers help the working parents they employ be more productive.
  • 96.77 per cent strongly agree or agree Childcare Vouchers provide a supportive environment for working parents and their families.
  • 54.56 per cent strongly agree or agree the closure will have a significant impact on their recruitment and retention strategies.
  • 69.88 per cent strongly agree or agree the closure has generated concern among their working parents.
  • 83.05 per cent agree information provided by government about the closure has been insufficient.
  • 96.05 per cent strongly agree or agree the scheme should be reopened to new entrants alongside Tax-Free Childcare.

Employers who took part in the survey said:

  • “Being able to offer Childcare Vouchers has been integral to securing some very significant senior hires for us in the last 12 months. To get more senior people, often at the life stage where they have young children, we need to design jobs and working patterns with benefits like Childcare Vouchers. This enables them to be at work and contribute the skills and experience they can bring to our business”.  Anonymous.
  • “Government and UK businesses should be working collectively to do all we can to support working parents and, in this instance, by offering choice. Allowing both government and company schemes to run alongside each other and giving parents the choice of either scheme, would demonstrate this supportive collaboration”. Anonymous.
  • “Many of our employees, especially mothers, are worried that they will not be able to sustain full time employment due to high childcare costs – this will be made worse due to the closure of the Childcare Voucher scheme”. Anonymous.

The campaign to #SaveChildcareVouchers has seen:

  • 284 employers, representing over 148,000 employees, sign our business pledge to keep Childcare Vouchers, open including Barnardo’s, Kettle Foods, the University of Southampton, and NHS Grampian.
  • 80 MPs sign an Early Day Motion, urging government to keep the scheme open until a more thorough analysis is completed of the ‘winners and losers’.
  • 119,000 people sign a petition to keep Childcare Vouchers open beyond the original closing date of April 2018.

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