Read expert suggestions on how to make London a better place to live, and share your ideas belowby Prospect Team / November 14, 2013 / Leave a comment
Published in December 2013 issue of Prospect Magazine
The Motherhood Penalty
Mothers in the capital with dependent children have an employment rate of 53 per cent, compared to 65 per cent for those across the UK. The costs of going back to work after maternity leave simply do not outweigh the benefits of staying at home. This is hardly surprising given that average annual childcare bill in the capital is a staggering £14,000—significantly higher than the rest of the UK. The London premium that can be identified among other sectors of the workforce is therefore significantly lower for working mothers, who are more likely to look for part-time work to fit in with their families. Yet, in London four in ten part-time jobs are low paid, compared to just one in ten of full-time jobs. High transport costs make the transition into part-time work appear even less favourable. A monthly zones 1 to 6 travelcard eats up around a fifth of monthly earnings on the national minimum wage, and part-time workers are more likely to commute by bus and underground than their full-time counterparts. It is clear that more must be done to ensure travel options meet the needs of all Londoners.Achieving the modest target of bringing London’s maternal employment rate in line with the rest of the country would bring an additional 100,000 working mothers into London’s workforce, benefiting the economy, household, and indeed working mothers themselves.
David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, @DavidLammy