A child plays with plastic bricks
Parents are increasingly pushing for childcare reform © Mayerberg/Dreamstime

Parents across the UK took to the streets last month to protest against how women are pushed out of the workforce by an early-years system that costs workers almost two-thirds of their median weekly take-home pay.

The inflexibility of the system hits their earnings power and future career progression.

On this week’s episode of the FT podcast Money Clinic, presenter Claer Barrett hears from Jess, who has been forced to go part-time to juggle childcare arrangements. Her life was thrown into chaos recently when her daughter’s nursery suddenly closed its doors.

Joeli Brearley, author and founder of the campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed, reveals that more than 60 per cent of women who terminated pregnancies in the past five years cited the high cost of childcare as a factor in their decision, according to the group’s own research.

She explains the crisis within the system, and why parents are pushing for childcare reform to move up the political agenda.

Megan Jarvie, head of the Coram Family and Childcare charity, details what government support is available to families and offers a range of practical tips for listeners.

To listen, click on the player link above or search for Money Clinic wherever you get your podcasts.

Money Clinic is keen to hear from listeners and readers. If you would like to get in touch, please email us at money@FT.com or direct message Claer on social media. She is @ClaerB on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

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