As part of Save the Children’s Make Childcare Work campaign, we took a group of eleven mums to Parliament in July to call for change to upfront childcare costs under Universal Credit. They gave evidence to a parliamentary inquiry, did media interviews, met ministers and MPs, handed in a petition and attended a roundtable with MPs.
This is Vikki’s story.
After becoming a single parent of 2 young children, going back to work from maternity leave and then moving on to Universal Credit, I struggled with the crippling cost of upfront childcare. It was in the midst of this that I got involved in the ‘Make Childcare Work’ campaign and my life took an unexpected turn for the better.
Fast forward 9 months and I’m stood on the steps of 10 Downing Street holding a petition box containing 100k-plus signatures whilst a photographer snaps away and a cameraman films for ITV news. It’s a strange place, it really feels like a film set. Downing Street is a place we’ve all seen hundreds of times but to walk up to the shiny black door and use the knocker is just bizarre. Luckily, as always, I’m surrounded by the most supportive team imaginable and other outstanding, hard working parents that I now consider friends. We’ve been on this journey together for almost a year and to share this experience is monumental in all of our lives.
Now the petition has been delivered, MPs have listened, the DWP select committee have written report after report and ministers have been addressed, we can only hope that sooner or later the changes we’ve been campaigning for will be implemented. The huge upfront costs that are placed on already struggling parents’ shoulders need to be reconsidered and the system needs to be simplified to allow it to be transparent to everyone, but that’s just the start…
The soaring levels of in-work poverty will continue to be an issue until real changes are made. As a group of empowered, tenacious and passionate parents backed by a marvellous team at Save and some influential political voices, we are determined to see this through and bring about reform of the failing welfare system.
After all, the revolution cannot happen without childcare…