A meeting to be hosted this evening in the Scottish Parliament will see SNP MSP Jamie Hepburn raise concerns over the impact of changes to UK tax credits on parents struggling to meet the cost of childcare.
Mr Hepburn will call on the UK Government to reverse changes which would see only 70% of the cost of childcare met through tax credits instead of the previous 80%. In some cases this could prevent people returning to work.
In the debate which will focus on a report from Save the Children and the Day Care Trust Mr Hepburn will highlight the problems facing parents of families in poverty who are seeking to return to work or training saying:
“The high cost of childcare is felt by most families, but for families in severe poverty the impact is particularly drastic.
“Nearly half of families living in severe poverty have cut back on food to afford childcare.
“We can surely all agree that no family should have to choose between feeding themselves or indeed heating their homes on the one hand; and paying for childcare on the other.
“One third of parents in severe poverty have also had to turn down a job; one quarter hadn’t been able to take up education or training, and one in ten actually had to move home as a result of difficulties finding suitable childcare.”
Changes brought in this April mean that the amount of help available for childcare costs dropped from £140 to £122.50 per week for one child and from £240 to £210 for two children.
Mr Hepburn will also describe the UK Government changes as “very damaging” to families on low incomes. He will urge Scottish local authorities to provide flexible childcare provision and ask that consideration be given to extending the service to include two year olds for poorer families seeking work.