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Study finds new mothers can lose almost £70,000 over 10 years

A Social Market Foundation (SMF) study has discovered that new mothers typically suffer a financial loss of £66,434 in pay over the course of a decade in comparison to childless women.

The monetary loss figure gauges the income a woman would have earned if her career progression had emulated similar women without children. The statistics are based on new SMF analysis of a dataset that tracks the experiences of approximately 30,000 people over many years.

Considering women who were 25 to 35, the SMF discovered that the typical woman who remained childless from 2009/10 onwards would have seen her earnings rise by around a third over the following decade. In contrast, a woman who gave birth to a first child in 2010/11 would be earning 10% less at the end of the relevant period.

A key contributory factor in the divergence of incomes was the high cost of childcare in Britain. With families typically paying 7% of their income towards it, the UK continues to have some of the most expensive childcare in the world. This factor means that it is often not possible for parents to work as much as they would like. In turn, this leads to reduced earnings, stalled wage growth, and a lack of career progression.

The SMF have announced the creation of a cross-party commission into the effect of poor childcare provision on wages and poverty.