“Of the multitude of problems plaguing the UK, one issue is rising toward the top of the pile—and it has nothing to do with Brexit.

“Calls to tackle the exorbitant cost of early-years child care are growing louder ahead of the next general election, due within two years. There’s no easy fix for a system that’s become dominated by private interests, and any meaningful reform would likely require an injection of public funds at a time when Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is focused on tightening spending to bring down inflation.

“The average cost of a full-time nursery slot in Britain is about £14,000 ($17,000) a year, but it can be double that in London and other places. After taxes, the average household income is just over £32,000, making the UK the most expensive country in which to obtain care for children aged 2 and 3, relative to wages, in the 38-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.” [The United States is the second most expensive country.]

“The expense is particularly painful with prices for just about everything rising, and it’s eroding decades of progress in getting more women into the workforce… ‘Unless politicians wake up to the fact that this will be a doorstep election issue, they’re going to meet some very, very angry parents,’ says Sarah Ronan, who leads work on early education and child care for the nonprofit Women’s Budget Group.”

“UK Getting It ‘Totally Wrong’ on Soaring Child Care Costs,” by Olivia Konotey-Ahulu, Bloomberg, February 13, 2023