High childcare costs 'make women better off staying at home'

Higher childcare costs and government spending cuts have helped force women off the job market during the economic downturn, according to new research released today by a leading think-tank.

High childcare costs 'make women better off staying at home'

High childcare costs 'make women better off staying at home'  Photo: ALAMY

Patrick Hennessy

By Patrick Hennessy, Political Editor  The Daily Telegraph

8:30PM BST 06 Aug 2011

Analysis of official government figures by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) shows the number of women unemployed for more than 12 months has risen to 268,000 - one in four of the total number of females out of work.

Job insecurity for growing - with women accounting for more than 40 per cent of redundancies in the second quarter of 2011, up from 30 per cent in the first three months of the year.

The analysis shows cuts to public sector jobs - where the amount of women in employment is proportionately higher than in the private sector - have been a big factor in the trend, which is already posing political problems for David Cameron.

The Prime Minister has privately admitted the Conservative Party's appeal to women voters has slumped according to recent opinion polls and that he needs to do more to bolster support.

Tory strategists say recent rows over plans to end child benefit for people earning over £42,000 and to increase university tuition fees to up to £9,000 a year have both proved highly unpopular with women. The party has also been hit by the fall out from pension changes which will see thousands of women in their 50s having to wait between 18 months and two years longer than expected before qualifying for their state pension.