Briefing: Access to Childcare in Great Britain

National briefing: July 2021

Establishment of a professional, high-quality childcare system is an essential part of a caring economy.

Such a system helps to develop children’s social, emotional and cognitive skills, and allows parents to take up or remain in paid employment, or undertake training or other activities, such as care for other relatives, or volunteering in the community, knowing their child is safe and well looked after.

It also reduces social inequalities by helping disadvantaged children access high-quality support, as well as providing social networks and parenting support for their parents.

Accessible childcare can also go a long way to removing the barriers to employment for women, who are disproportionately responsible for unpaid care.

Investing in high-quality childcare would also create jobs in a sector that exists in every town and city across the country, which also largely employs women.

However, the current underfunded childcare sector does not allow for these benefits to be fully realised.

This briefing summarises some of the issues around access to childcare in Great Britain including:

  • how much childcare is available
  • how affordable it is
  • impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the sector.


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