Problems will be exacerbated when the furlough scheme ends, resulting in mothers who took the leave as they were unable to get childcare being called back to work, she added. Two thirds of furloughed mothers surveyed by Pregnant Then Screwed said a lack of childcare was the reason they were furloughed.
One woman said she was was made redundant after she asked if she could extend her furlough until September, as she was still unable to find someone to look after her two children.
“It was horribly disorientating. I feel that my inability to return to work could have contributed to me losing my job,” Ms Mitchell said. “I now can’t commit to any childcare because I don’t have a job. But I can’t accept a job until I know I can get childcare. It’s an impossible situation.”
Neil Leitch, of the Early Years Alliance, said the Government needed to provide greater financial support to the sector to ensure parents could get the support that would allow them to get back to work.
“Many are already feeling the strain of reduced access to childcare. With a quarter of providers fearing closure by next year, this situation is only going to get worse unless the Government takes urgent action,” he said.
A Government spokesman said: “We are continuing to provide extra security to nurseries and childminders that are open by ‘block-buying’ childcare places for the rest of this year at the level we would have funded before coronavirus – regardless of how many children are attending.”
He added that the sector had received significant financial support over the past months and would benefit from £3.6bn of funding next year for free childcare places as well as £1bn for wraparound and holiday care.