Monday, 18 February 2013

Time Is Running Out To Make A Difference

The soaring cost of childcare has been stopping parents from seeking work as the UK continues to have some of the most expensive childcare in the world.  Recent reports have found that in some cases childcare costs can account for a third of household incomes*.  As a result 38%** of parents have even considered quitting their current job and 12%** have actually left their job because of childcare costs. 

Childcare and the cost of childcare are high on the government’s agenda at present.  77% of respondents from the latest Mumsnet survey think that the government doesn’t do enough to support parents with the cost of childcare**.  Busy Bees Benefits aims to change this with their ‘Mind the Gap – Raise the Cap’ campaign.

The campaign was launched in 2012 to make childcare costs more affordable for working parents.  The aim is to increase the support parents get with childcare costs which will in turn help more parents back into work.  The campaign is calling for the government to raise the weekly amount working parents can exchange for Childcare Vouchers from £55 to £75.  At the heart of the campaign is an e-petitionon the HM Government E-petitions website which has already attracted over 17,000 signatures.  The petition will close on 21st March 2013.

The main aim of the campaign is to bridge the gap between the rising cost of childcare and the amount of salary parents can exchange for Childcare Vouchers, which has not changed since 2006. Childcare costs have continued to rise during this time whilst inflation and other financial pressures have continued to make it more difficult for families to balance their budgets.

Childcare Vouchers are a simple and popular employee benefit as they attract tax and National Insurance savings of up to £933 per parent, per year from the cost of childcare.  Parents find Childcare Vouchers a valuable method of paying their childcare costs for children up to the age of 16.  In a recent customersurvey by Busy Bees Benefits, 1 in 3 parents*** believe the provision of Childcare Vouchers influenced their decision to return to work or remain with their current employer after having a family.

John Woodward, MD of Busy Bees said “It is imperative that parents are able to work and choose the quality childcare they want for their children without costs being a huge financial burden.  We want to make a difference to families, raising the Childcare Voucher cap will provide parents with additional savings, making their childcare costs more affordable.  Parents can play their part in helping themselves and others to save money by supporting the ‘Mind the Gap – Raise the Cap’ campaign.

How Much Can Parents Save?
Raising the cap to £75 will make a real difference for working parents.  Basic rate tax payers could save over £300 more per parent, per year, totalling over £1200 per year, depending on individual circumstances.  Both parents in a household can join a Childcare Voucher scheme via their employer, potentially doubling savings to more than £2400 per year.
John said “The Childcare Voucher system is the most effective way of helping working parents save money. The current Childcare Voucher scheme is not bureaucratic and could easily be extended to allow working parents to save more, without a huge overhaul of government childcare funding.”

How Can You Help?
Time is running out, the e-petition closes on the 21st March 2013 and for the issue to be eligible for debate in the House of Commons 100,000 signatures are required.  Help Busy Bees Benefits to make a difference by:

1- If you haven’t already signed the e-petition, please do so now.  You can help further by asking friends and family to do the same. 
2- Send a personalised letter to your local MP. A template can be found here  Alternatively, Busy Bees Benefits has developed an online tool to enable you to send an email directly to them. This can be found at 

For more information about the campaign, visit  

*** Busy Bees Benefits Customer Survey November 2012
1 Subject to individual circumstances.

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