'March of the Mummies' in London, October 29, 2022.
Ministers have been blasted over a plan to woo mothers back to work with a “letter writing campaign”.
“Plans could see a letter writing campaign or advertising blitz for mums who aren’t working but live in a Universal Credit household,” the newspaper reported.
Partners of those on benefits could specifically be targeted as part of the plan driven by pensions secretary Mel Stride to get nine million “economically inactive” Brits in to work.
Hundreds of women, parents and young children march through London.
However, the proposal has been slammed by parents who pointed out the exorbitant cost of childcare was the main barrier for parents returning to work.
For many women childcare costs are so high there is no point in them working while others find themselves in serious debt as a result.
One Twitter user said: “The word ‘childcare’ does not make a single appearance in this article, which should tell you how completely unserious the government is about this.”
Another quipped: “Sending mums letters will be a waste of paper and ink if they can’t afford childcare.”
One sarcastically commented: “Stupid, lazy, ‘economically inactive’ mums daring to choose to not remortgage their homes to afford childcare.”
Meanwhile, one wrote: “Starting to genuinely wonder if someone in government has got a bet on about how long they can avoid doing anything about or indeed even mentioning childcare in the context of enabling parents to work.”
Another simply said: “Just. Subsidise. Childcare. Properly.”
A Labour Party source told HuffPost UK: “This is more evidence of a tired government that’s run out of ideas and has zero ambition for women across this country.
“Tory tinkering around the edges will not deliver for women but Labour’s modern childcare system will give all parents, and particularly women, choices about getting back into the workplace as well as the growth our economy needs.”
Labour has been drawing up plans for a major expansion of free childcare that could be worth around £6 billion a year.
The party is considering offering parents more free hours as a key pledge ahead of the next general election. The aim is to grow the economy by helping more parents into work.
A spokesperson for the department of work and pensions said: “It’s important to look at how our welfare system is operating to ensure it’s supporting people in the best way possible and incentivising those who are able to, into work – as this is the best way to deliver financial security, purpose and confidence.
“We’re considering a range of factors to address inactivity, and further details on this will be set out in due course.”
They said the government had spent more than £20 billion over the past five years to support families with the cost of childcare.