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UK women priced out of work by lack of affordable childcare, PwC finds

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Women in Britain are being priced out of work and suffering from a growing gender pay gap as the result of a lack of affordable child care, a new report has found.With the chancellor thought to be looking at ways of boosting employment in next week’s package, a survey by the consultancy group PwC found the UK slipping down the international league table for women in work.PwC said Britain had dropped five places to 14th in the ranking of the 38 rich-country members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, pointing to the lack of affordable childcare as a barrier to progress.Data for 2021 showed the gender pay gap widening four times faster in the UK than the average for the OECD, primarily due to the financial penalty from motherhood.Larice Stielow, a senior economist at PwC, said: “An 18-year-old woman entering the workforce today will not see pay equality in her working lifetime.

At the rate the gender pay gap is closing, it will take more than 50 years to reach gender pay parity.“The motherhood penalty is now the most significant driver of the gender pay gap and, in the UK, women are being hit even harder by the rising cost of living and increasing cost of childcare.“With this and the gap in free childcare provision between ages one and three, more women are being priced out of work.

For many it is more affordable to leave work than remain in employment and pay for childcare, especially for families at lower income levels.”PwC said childcare costs relative to average income were some of the highest in the OECD.

Net childcare costs represented almost a third of the income of a family on the average UK wage, compared with as little as 1% of income in Germany.The Women’s Budget Group, the gender

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