Some 41% of working mums in England with children under 10 can’t get – or are unsure whether they will get – enough childcare to cover the hours they need for work this September, according to a poll published by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

Millions of pupils in England and Wales returned to school this week after the unprecedented shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic.

But a survey for the TUC found that as term restarts, many mums are missing out on their usual forms of childcare.

It found:

  • 45% don’t have their usual help from friends and family
  • 35% can’t get places at after-school clubs
  • 28% have lost childcare provided by school breakfast clubs
  • The same proportion don’t have their usual nursery or childminder available

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said, “mums have picked up the majority of childcare while nurseries and schools have been closed.

And many have sacrificed hours and pay to do so – especially those in low-paid jobs who can least afford the financial hit.

“But this can’t go on. If we don’t take this childcare crisis seriously women will be pushed out of the workforce, turning the clock back on decades of labour market progress.”

The TUC called on the government to provide extra funding to childcare providers so they can stay open, and an extension to the job retention scheme, which is due to close at the end of October.