The Regional Development Agencies are currently revising their economic strategies, and teh TUC is urging them to pay greater attention to access to childcare.
RDAs already support productivity projects on workforce development, investment and R&D via direct and match funding. The TUC points out that in many instances, RDAs act as a regional hub of social partnerships, so they are ideally placed to spread best practice, host awareness raising events, sponsor company projects and encourage SMEs in pooling resources.
TUC General Secretary, John Monks, said: “Regional economic development is about creating the regional economy of the future, which means adapting struggling industries, developing workers skills and nipping problems in the bud before they slow the economy down. Local access to childcare is just the sort of issue that will damage our productivity and cause skill shortages if it is not prioritised soon. Lack of affordable childcare remains a headache for many working parents, particularly women. As a result, many women are not given the choice of returning to work, which drains valuable skills and experience from our economy.”