It’s rubbish bringing up babies in the UK

United Nations produces league table of family friendly nations and the UK is hovering above the relegation places

Father and son


Britain just got panned in new United Nations report as one of the worst places to bring up children.

The UN children’s charity Unicef ranked 31 countries according to what paternity and maternity benefits they offer plus how many kids are in childcare.

The latter seems to have done for Britain where childcare is notoriously dear. UK parents were the most likely to blame cost for not sending their children to nursery.

The only European countries below the UK were Cyprus, Greece and Switzerland. Though the USA also did badly because it offers no statutory leave for parents at federal level.

Inevitably the Nordic companies came out on top with Sweden, Norway and Iceland ranked best for bringing up babies.

Estonia offers the most maternity leave.

Paternity leave

When it comes to paternity leave there seems to be an issue with men actually using it. In Japan, the only country that offers at least six months at full pay for fathers, only 1 in 20 took paid leave in 2017. The Republic of Korea has the second longest, yet fathers only make up 1 in 6 of all parents who take parental leave.

Paid paternity leave helps fathers bond with their babies, contributes to healthy infant and child development, lowers maternal depression and increases gender equality, the report says. It calls for national policies ensuring paid paternity leave and encouraging fathers to use it.

Unicef called for parents to get six months paid parental leave and affordable childcare.

“There is no time more critical to children’s brain development – and therefore their futures – than the earliest years of life,” said Unicef Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “We need governments to help provide parents with the support they need to create a nurturing environment for their young children. And we need the support and influence of the private sector to make this happen.”

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