Inadequate Childcare Hits Wales

by Himabindu Venkatakrishnan on  July 3, 2007 at 3:06 PM Child Health News   - G J E 4
Inadequate Childcare Hits Wales
Childcare is scarce in some parts of Wales. Some people believe that it is easier to get the child admitted to the exclusive school Eton than finding good childcare.

People depending on private health care find it inadequate. Often they are unable to find a child minder within 20 miles of their homes.

A new survey suggests that many of the Welsh parents are turning to the grandparents for minding the child. This saves thousands of pounds for the family. The research by the Skipton Building Society showed that without grandparents coming to the rescue, half of working parents would be forced to live on a tighter budget. One in five women said that without the help of grandparents they would not be able to afford to return to work.

Hywel Williams, MP for Caernarfon, said Welsh-speaking families living in the three South Wales cities - Cardiff, Swansea and Newport - are the worst affected by Wales' childcare problem.

Clybiau Plant Cymru Kid's Clubs, which provides out-of-school childcare places and clubs, said childcare provision needs more investment from the government.

It has increased the provision of holiday clubs by 152% and childcare places by 313% since 2001 with the help of funding from the Lottery and European Social Fund, but this money will run out in next June.

Wendy Hawkins, the organization's director, said, "People in Wales do not earn that much money so it is harder for them to pay childcare costs.

"We are trying to open more clubs to allow people to go to work, which helps the economy and lifts children out of poverty, but this needs money."

Mr. William believes that ""Childcare in rural Wales just isn't available, and at the same time there is increasing pressure on non-working mothers to go back to work." he wanted to see funds diverted from unclaimed tax credits to pay for a greater mix of provision by the government, local authorities and private sector.

He praised the system used in Sweden, where there is guaranteed childcare for all parents within three months of applying.

Mr. Williams will raise the problem of childcare in Wales in the House of Commons today.

A spokesman for the Welsh Assembly Government said, "The Welsh Assembly Government is making significant funding available to help people in Wales with the cost of childcare. In 2007-08 we are investing Ģ6m locally in childcare and children's information services through Cymorth. Genesis Wales is providing Ģ12.5m in European Structural Funds over three years to March 2008 and our Flying Start initiative, which provides part-time childcare in its target areas, makes Ģ46m available over two years to March 2008."

Source: Medindia

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