Work ‘doesn’t pay for parents’ as childcare & rail fares ‘swallow up 35% of families’ wages’

Commuting families are now spending more than a third of their wages on childcare and rail fares, according to figures from Campaign for Better Transport.

The figures show that for a family with two working parents and two children in nursery, rail fares and childcare costs will swallow up on average 35% of their joint take home pay.

Families outside the South East fare slightly better spending around 26% of their wages, with families in London and the South East spending the most, at around 40%.

The sustainable transport charity is warning that the combined cost of commuting by rail and childcare is placing an ‘increasingly unbearable burden on families’.

Alexandra Woodsworth, Campaign for Better Transport’s public transport campaigner, said:

“We now have both the highest rail fares in Europe and the highest childcare costs. With fares set to rise 28% over the next four years, these combined costs will become increasingly unbearable.

“For many families it means that work simply doesn’t pay – it doesn’t make financial sense to stay in work or return after maternity leave.

“We’re calling on the Government to stop penalising working families and review the above inflation increases as matter of urgency.”

The latest figures come only a month after research revealed childcare costs are on a par with mortgage or rent payments for 41% of families, with a quarter of parents, regardless of incomes, admitting to having got into debt to pay for childcare.

The research also discovered that a quarter of parents in severe poverty had given up work and a third had turned down a job mainly because of high childcare costs.

Elizabeth Duff, senior policy adviser for parenting charity NCT, said:

“For many parents with young children the dilemma of affording necessities, while transport and childcare costs continue to rise, becomes a challenging juggling act.

“At a time when many households are on a reduced budget we are worried about the impact these rising costs will have on families.”

Campaign for Better Transport launched a national Fair Fares Now campaign earlier in the year.

It calls on the Government to reverse its decision to raise fares 3% above inflation for the next three years and instead provide more affordable, straightforward tickets that provide good value for money and encourage people to choose the train.


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