I know several mums who are in the Childcare Trap right now. They desperately need to go back to work for financial reasons, but the cost of childcare – nursery and childminders, don't even mention nannies – is so prohibitive they can't afford it. Nursery places can now cost up to £20,000 a year in some parts of the country. Meanwhile childminders' fees have risen dramatically as well. In fact, childcare costs are rising faster than the rate of inflation in the UK .
Of course childminders and nursery workers deserve to be paid fairly. But it's pretty obvious parents need more help with childcare costs.
You don't necessarily get what you pay for, either. I live close to an area populated with nannies – the next best thing to a parent, you would think. Except that every day I see them taking their charges out for walks… but not interacting with the kids on any level, because their mouths are jammed to their mobile phones the whole time. Mary Poppins would, I'm sure, be horrified.
I'm not sure what the solution to the childcare problem is, but I think it's pretty obvious that the political parties will ignore it at their peril in the run-up to the election.
*What do you think about childcare costs?
written by Liz Jarvis