Daily Express

Mothers lose out on £70k in wages after having a baby

- By Macer Hall

MOTHERS are facing a huge decadelong financial penalty following the arrival of their babies.

They are losing out by as much as £70,000, according to analysis of childcare provision by the Social Market Foundation, which is launching a cross-party commission to investigat­e the issue.

Tory MP John Penrose and Labour’s Siobhain McDonagh will work with the think tank to assess the impact of poor childcare provision on wages and poverty, as well as coming up with proposals to improve the situation.

The research found that a woman who had her first child in 2010 typically suffered a cumulative income loss of £66,434 over the following nine years, relative to what would have happened if she had remained childless.

Looking at women who were aged 25 to 35 in 2009, the foundation discovered the typical woman who remained childless would have seen her earnings rise by around a third over the next decade.

By contrast, a woman who had her first child in 2010 was earning 10 per cent less.

In the first three years after having a baby, women on lower incomes saw their earnings fall by around 30 per cent. But women on higher wages saw their earnings drop by around 20 per cent.The foundation said that the high cost and limited availabili­ty of childcare means it is often not possible for parents to work as much as they want, leading to reduced earnings, stalled wage growth, and limited career progressio­n.

Families paying for childcare typically spend more than seven per cent of their income on it, the foundation has calculated.

Scott Corfe, research director at the think tank, said: “In the UK, having a child is expensive – particular­ly for women. With childcare costs prohibitiv­e, many either have to stop working, or work reduced hours, in order to look after children.

“This means derailed career paths, missed promotion opportunit­ies, and tens of thousands of pounds of foregone earnings over the course of a decade.”

Mr Penrose said that a soloution was needed, adding: more “affordable childcare is essential for any parent who doesn’t want to put their career on hold”.

Ms McDonagh said: “These shocking findings expose the urgent steps that need to be taken by government to close the inequality that is the cost of childcare poverty gap.”

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Assessment… McDonagh and Penrose, below

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