A group of families currently enrolled in the universal credit scheme has expressed concerns that they are falling behind with payments and falling victim to increased debt during school holidays. The reason for this is the insufficient childcare help they’re receiving from the government when schools are closed.
Parents and NGOs have expressed concerns that childcare holiday costs are excruciating, and missing work hurts the monthly income of the whole family. Because of this complicated situation, charities and parent organizations decided to turn to Parliament and ask MPs for help.
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Affordable childcare during holidays
The main group struggling to support their children during school holidays are families who are enlisted in the universal credit scheme, as they are required to pay for out of school care in advance. This requirement poses a severe challenge for such families because, during longer holidays, the sums requested by childcare providers are significantly higher.
Currently, support from the state is minimal for families in this situation. One of the parents who attended the meeting with MPs even shared that her local job center had suggested that her older child should look after the younger. While this may be a viable option in some cases, these children were only aged nine and twelve, which is not acceptable.
Providing food and care for children during holidays is proving to be a challenging task for some parents on universal credit, to such extent that they have to turn to food banks. According to Abby Jitendra, representative of the Trussell Trust, one of the leading food banks in the UK predicted that 2019 would be one of the busiest summer periods. She also added that:
There is so much that the government could do to provide support during the holidays, but fundamentally, if people can’t afford the very basics like food and activities all year round, the problem is only going to continue.
There is a severe malfunction in the way childcare is currently organized in the UK, and further complaints are expected as the summer season has already started.