Telegraph View: Mums need all help available

David Walsh Business Round Table with Nancy Fielder
David Walsh Business Round Table with Nancy Fielder

There is little more important to working families than getting the right childcare, and being able to afford it.

The costs of having a job and young children is an added stress which make the interminable hunt for a work-life balance feel impossible at times.

Let’s not forget these are people who will already be paid less because of their gender and are less likely to be in senior roles - regardless of children

If I had £10 for every time I’ve spoken to mums about their wage hardly covering childcare costs, I could stay at home with my own children quite comfortably.

These are the people who are genuinely delighted when their tots are old enough to access 15 hours of free childcare a week.

The fact that is doubling is brilliant.

If mums want to stick at their careers, we should absolutely support them.

If mums can’t afford not to return to work, it is even more important that we are right behind them.

I say mums, because in the vast majority of cases it is the women who take on most of the childcare.

Let’s not forget these are people who will already be paid less because of their gender and are less likely to be in senior roles – regardless of children.

Also, even though we do at least now have some paternity leave guaranteed, I’ve yet to find a new mum who would choose to go it alone after two weeks.

There is no doubt we should do more to support young families and it is just another example of how our city would benefit from a united approach.

I applaud unreservedly free school meals for our youngest residents, and dare I mention the milk that the very little ones get.

Let’s look outside the usual answers to find better ways to grow the support on offer to Sheffield families, particularly since so many do not have grandparents or other relatives nearby.

The last thing this city needs is a crisis around a lack of nursery spaces. At least for now the battle to get your child a place in ‘the best’ educational facilities doesn’t usually start until five.