Monday, 29 October 2012

United For All Ages Calls For Radical Solutions To Childcare Costs Crisis

We are waiting in anticipation for the response from the Childcare Commission, which is looking at how to reduce the costs of childcare for working families and burdens on childcare providers. The commission will look at relevant issues and consider key themes such as ways to encourage the provision of wraparound and holiday childcare, identifying any regulation that burdens childcare providers unnecessarily because it is not needed for reasons of quality or safety and how childcare supports families to move into sustained employment and out of poverty.

There are organisations all over the UK calling for solutions to the childcare costs crisis, here is what United For All Ages has to say:

Substantial extra funding by the government is needed to make childcare more affordable for parents, says United for All Ages. The Treasury must also review and simplify current funding to ensure it is used as well as possible.

The call comes as the government's childcare commission prepares its findings and the Resolution Foundation publishes its latest report, Counting the costs of childcare.

With British parents facing some of the highest childcare costs in Europe, many - particularly women - are finding it almost impossible to make work pay. Evidence from other countries shows that dropping out of work while having children has significant lifetime effects on women's income and on the economy.

United for All Ages says extra tax funding should be used as follows:
 - the offer of free fifteen hours early education for hours early education for all three and four year olds should be extended to all two year olds and providers must be properly funded for delivering this offer.
- the childcare element of the working tax credit should be improved to cover up to 85% of childcare costs for working parents on low incomes. It should also not be reduced for families using childcare for a second or third child - the childcare element of the working tax credit should cover up to 100% of childcare costs for parents entering work for the first six months.
- the tax exemption cap on employer-supported childcare vouchers should be raised to £75 a week.
- a national ‘oyster-style’ card should be introduced for all parents to pay for childcare. This card could include the childcare element of working tax credit and the tax exempt employer-supported childcare vouchers. It would ensure that help with childcare costs could only be used to pay for childcare while giving parents choice of childcare provider.

Denise Burke, director of United for All Ages, said: “Childcare costs British parents much more than elsewhere in Europe because the state subsidy is much lower here. Let’s not beat about the bush - radical reform is needed not more sticking plaster.

"We need to ensure that all the various funding streams are used as effectively as possible through a Treasury review. Then we must increase childcare funding and direct help much better. We must not compromise on quality - better funding not deregulation is the answer."

"It’s crucial for parents, children and our economy that we get this right now.”

 See for more, including The Childcare Funding Crisis report.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Lichfield company’s childcare voucher campaign secures Chamber Award


An innovative Lichfield company is proving that ‘Business is Good for Britain’ after launching a pioneering PR and marketing drive designed to raise awareness of childcare vouchers.

BusyBees Benefits, which employs 24 people in the City, has beaten off competition from across the region to secure ‘Marketing Campaign of the Year’ (sponsored by the RBS Group) in the West Midlands Chamber Awards 2012.

It has developed and successfully launched the ‘Mind the Gap - Raise the Cap’ campaign that explains to parents how they could sacrifice money from their salary in exchange for childcare vouchers.

The leading provider of employer and employee benefits has used a mix of media relations, advertising and social media to reach as many potential users as possible.

Busy Bees, which is a member of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group, has enjoyed an increase in the profile of the business and secured 9000 signatures for its e-petition, which calls for the Government to raise the current cap from £55 to £75 per week.

President of the British Chambers of Commerce Martyn Pellew said: “There has never been a more important time for businesses to showcase the amazing work they are doing on a day-to-day basis.

“The Chamber Awards is a perfect platform for them to do just that and receive the recognition and profile they deserve for helping move the economy forward and create employment, often in local areas.”

TheBritish Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Chamber Awards 2012 is committed to finding the best businesses in Britain through a series of regional heats followed by a National Final, due to be held at London’s Guildhall on November 29th.

Now in its 9th year, the competition is one of the showcase events for the ‘Business is Good for Britain’ campaign that highlights the role of business as a positive force for the UK recovery and the success of local communities and individuals.

BusyBees Benefits is one of eight regional winners in the West Midlands, who will now go forward and compete for the national titles in their respective categories. All will have a chance to win ‘Outstanding Business Achievement’ and a £25,000 cash prize courtesy of the RBS Group.

 Other successful companies in the region include:
  • Alumet Systems (Sustainability Award)
  • Concept Steels (Achievement in International Business)
  • Contact Group (Excellence in Innovation)
  • Soul Tree Wines (Most Promising New Business)
  • Jaguar Land Rover (Commitment to People Development)
  • Smith and Morris (Excellence in Customer Service Award and Business of the Year)
  • Viezu’s Paul Busby (Entrepreneur of the Year)

Martyn concluded: “A record number of firms have taken part this year, all determined to prove that ‘Business is Good for Britain!’”

The Chamber Awards 2012 is supported by the RBS Group, BT Business, Dell, DHL Express, Westfield Health and Acua Limited.

Peter Ibbetson, Chairman of Small Business Banking for RBS and NatWest said: "I'd like to congratulate all of the award winners on their achievements. We wanted to sponsor this award as, at a time when all businesses are dealing with difficult economic conditions, marketing for your business becomes even more of a priority and a key part of business success.

“As a bank we're keen to help all businesses meet their ambitions and it's important to celebrate this type of success along the way."