Parents are losing money going back to work with childcare costs in the West Midlands outstripping pay.
New data shows working mums are paying more than they earn for childcare – and a city MP has called for government action.
Women with two children would have to pay more than 103 per cent of the average salary in Birmingham, and childcare also accounts for almost 90 per cent of the average man’s pay.
City MP Jess Phillips (Lab Yardley) said: “Something desperately needs to be done about childcare – including government investment – but the thing that really needs to change is women’s income and family income.
“I understand the argument that you shouldn’t have kids if you can’t afford them, but are we making progress?
“I was in deficit when I went back to work. I was a young mum, with low earning capacity, and I was spending more than I earned.
“It is the reason people are putting off having babies until later life. Unfortunately, these choices are being forced on families.”
Figures from the Family and Childcare Trust show that the average cost of full-time childminder for children under the age of two is £189 in the West Midlands region while the cost of sending a child over the age of two to nursery is £163 per week.
Assuming that you had one child fitting into each of these categories this would cost you £352 a week - more than the average weekly pay of £340 for a woman working full-time in the West Midlands metropolitan county.
If you were a man earning the average wage in the county then you’d only just be able to afford this cost. The average male working full-time takes home £407 per week according to the Office for National statistics meaning they’d have to spend 87 per cent of their wages on childcare.
Solihull was the only place in area where the average salary for a woman working full-time is more than the £352 a week it would cost to provide full-time childcare for two children.
What is the problem?
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A full local authority breakdown for the West Midlands area is listed below.
We have adjusted all of these figures to account for things like national insurance tax payments and income tax. We’ve also included a pension contribution worth three per cent of gross wages and allowed for 13 hours of free childcare per week for three and four year olds.
The average cost of full-time childcare (50 hours per week) across the whole of England was £165 per week for a child aged two and over at nursery and £211 for a child aged under two at a childminder.
This combined total of £376 is the equivalent of 85 per cent of the average weekly wage for a man working full- time and 102 per cent of the average female full-time wage.
LOCAL AUTHORITY FIGURES - HOW MUCH OF THE AVERAGE WAGE WOULD YOU HAVE TO SPEND ON CHILDCARE?*
Area // % of the average male wage // % of the average female wage
Wolverhampton // 92.5% // 111.6%
Sandwell // 94.6% // 109.6%
Walsall // 89.4% // 105.8%
Birmingham // 87.0% // 103.2%
Dudley // 87.1% // 100.6%
Coventry // 77.6% // 103.1%
Solihull // 73.0% // 94.0%
*Figures assume costs for two children; one aged under two and one aged between two and four.