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Childcare costs rising

WebMD UK Health News
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks
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6th March 2013 - The cost of childcare is outstripping inflation, according to a new report.

A survey for the Daycare Trust and Family and Parenting Institute has found the average costs of nursery, childminder and after-school clubs have gone up by double the rate of inflation, with parents paying out 6% more.

Childcare cost highlighted

The report compiled from figures submitted by Family Information Services found a nursery place costs 77% more in real terms today than it did 10 years ago.

The average cost of a nursery place for a two-year old toddler is now £106.38 a week for a part-time place (for 25 hours). A full-time place costs around £11,000 a year.

A childminder for a child under two now costs £98.15 a week.

There are regional differences across the UK, with full-time nursery place costs highest in the south east of England and lowest in the north west of England.

The most expensive nursery was found to cost £42,000, higher than putting a child through some leading public schools.

For two school-age children, parents pay around £4,000 for them to be cared for before and after the school.

As well as the cost of childcare, finding places can be hard. Only 20% of local authorities in England reported having enough childcare places for children aged two and under. The situation is worse for shiftworkers and parents of children with disabilities.

Making work pay

In a statement, Anand Shukla, chief executive of Daycare Trust and the Family and Parenting Institute says: "Childcare is as essential as food and heating for working families. Yet while wages stay still and childcare becomes more expensive, it’s increasingly difficult for parents - and mothers in particular - to make work pay.

"We are particularly concerned that the steepest price increases this year - at 9% - is in childcare for school-age children, which is as important as care for the under-fives in allowing parents to work."

In January, the government announced that nurseries and childminders in England will be allowed to look after more children for each adult to help cut the cost of childcare. That's a worry for Anand Shukla: "we are deeply concerned about proposals to relax ratios because this risks compromising quality, safety and children’s development. We urge the government in this year’s Budget to find ways to support parents with the costs of childcare - without compromising quality."

Some parents are eligible for childcare vouchers through their employers. Julian Foster, managing director of one voucher provider and sponsor of the report, Computershare Voucher Services, says some groups of parents miss out on the scheme: "I would ask the Government to take the opportunity at the forthcoming budget to increase the limits for childcare vouchers, to extend the scheme to the self-employed and those on the national minimum wage, and to give all employees the right to request a scheme from their employer."

Reviewed on March 06, 2013

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