What can be done to help parents meet the costs of a child?
Raising a child in London is expensive with housing and childcare driving costs higher than other parts of the country. This means that two parents working full-time on a minimum wage still fall short of earning enough to meet the costs of raising a child. For lone parents – the majority of whom are women – working full time even on median wage does not fully cover these costs.
We call on all candidates to:
- Expand the universal free school meals for primary school children from four boroughs to all of London through a phased implementation, starting with boroughs with highest levels of free school meal entitlement.
- Create a pan-London childcare brokerage services that helps parents to find suitable childcare. This service should monitor areas where demand outstrips supply and provide start-up grants to increase supply in these areas.
- Improve access to advice services to help every family to get the financial support they are entitled to and encourage local authorities to adopt a ‘breathing space’ scheme, allowing debts to be placed on hold for 21 days to enable families to seek independent and free debt advice before the debt escalates. This is particularly important for the 123,000 low income Londoners falling behind on their council tax.