Interesting figures from the Office for National Statistics. The employment rate has climbed to a new high of 76.3% and this is attributed to the rise in women working full time. 126,000 more woman are working full time now compared with the last quarter.

There are a number of reasons for this. The change in the retirement age for women from 60 to 65 has meant that many are staying in the workforce longer. However, the figures also show that fewer women are now staying at home to look after children.

It was hoped that shared parental leave would encourage more men to take time off to look after their children, but the take up has been very low.  Presumably therefore women are either making more use of nurseries and childminders or they are relying on the five million grandparents who provide regular childcare for their grandchildren.

Nursery fees often account for the majority of the mother's income, making it uneconomical for her to return to work full time. With people living longer healthier lives it makes sense for the next generation to take on some childcare responsibilities.  It is trend which is likely to continue, at least until grandparents realise it would be much easier to spend your inheritance on a round the world cruise.