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Childcare 'not working' [UK]

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Publication Date: 
23 Oct 2003

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Mothers in poorer families will work if they get help with childcare - but a new study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine concludes wages are still too low to get families out of debt.

Giving mums access to childcare is a key plank in the Government's drive to reduce child poverty.

But the study concludes wages are still too low to get families out of debt.

It notes: "Better access to out-of-home day-care facilities for children is considered to be an important anti-poverty strategy, since it might enable poor parents to take up paid work, thus increasing household income.

The researchers followed 120 mothers and 143 children, aged between six months and three-and-a-half years, with one group allocated a day-care place (intervention group) and the other not (control group).

They found that after 18 months, 23% more women who used the day-care centre were in paid work compared to the control group.

However, they were no more likely to have a weekly income above £200.

"Despite the trend towards more paid employment, there was no evidence that intervention mothers had a higher household income," the researchers concluded.

"Tackling low pay, changing the benefit structure and reducing the costs of day care to poor families may be equally important components of an anti-poverty strategy."

- reprinted from Sky News