Many parents 'paying more for childcare than average mortgage'

child The report said that the current system is not working for anyone

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Many parents in Britain are paying more for childcare annually than the average mortgage bill, according to a report.

The Family and Childcare Trust's annual report says average fees for one child in part-time nursery and another in an after-school club are £7,549 per year.

Full-time childcare cost for a family with a two-year-old and a five-year-old child are estimated at £11,700 a year.

The report compares the costs to the average annual UK mortgage payment, which was estimated at £7,207 in 2012.

The trust says childcare in England, Wales and Scotland is becoming increasingly unaffordable with a 27% rise in costs since 2009, while wages have remained static.

This is despite successive governments recognising its value to children, families, society and the economy and spending £6bn on supporting childcare every year, it adds.

The report notes that during the course of the current Parliament, the government will have put an additional £1bn into supporting childcare.

Mother-of-three Lynne Keeble said she had to give up her job because the childcare costs ''didn't add up''

All children in England, Scotland and Wales qualify for part-time free early education in the term after their third birthday.

In England, they receive 570 free hours every year, but even with this help some parents are contributing a substantial part of their income to childcare.

In 2012, only Swiss parents contributed a higher share of their salary than British parents, who on average spent 26.6%.

Rising nursery costs

25 hours/wk for child under two ()

Year Cost ()
Source: Family and Childcare Trust

The average costs for all OECD countries is 11.8% of parental net income.

The report said that the current system was not working for anyone.

"Children are losing out on vital early education and families remain trapped in poverty because they cannot make work pay.

"Childcare providers struggle with debts. Women fail to return to the labour market after they have children and the economy loses their skills and their taxes."

The study is based on information gathered by the trust from local authority family or children's information services in England, Wales and Scotland.

Lynne Keeble gave up her job because she was paying for before and after-school care as well as a full-time childminder for her three children.

She said she was forced to quit a job in London she loved because of the costs of childcare for her children, aged six, four and one.

girls in nursery Better use of school premises and children's centres for childcare is urged

"You can't go to work and then have nothing at the end of the month to show for it," she said.

Anand Shukla, chief executive at the Family and Childcare Trust, called on the government to extend early free education to all two-year-olds.

He said the government was currently funding childcare for some families with incomes of up to £300,000 a year.

"We would weight it differently to get some funding to lower income families", he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

But this measure is opposed by some.

Stephen Davies, of the Institute for Economic Affairs, said: "If you have taken the decision to have a child - which these days is a voluntary decision - why should you then expect other people, in the shape of the taxpayer, to help pick up some of the costs of that decision?"

'Costs stabilising'

Education and childcare minister Elizabeth Truss said the survey showed that costs in England had fallen for the first time in 12 years in line with her department's Early Years Parent Survey from earlier this year. The drop in England was about £15 over the past year.

Mother of three

Lynne Keeble gave up her job three weeks ago, because she couldn't afford childcare while she worked part-time.

She said: "I was working three days a week, working quite hard, commuting to London and I love my job, I really enjoy my job, I've been there eight years.

"But we found that the numbers just didn't add up for us.

"I think working's really important; it's important to me as an individual that I go to work. It's important that the children see both their parents working and we want the best start in life for our children.

"So to make the cost of childcare so unaffordable, I feel I was in an impossible situation really, I had no choice."

"This means more parents are able to access affordable childcare and support their families", she said.

However, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-School Learning Alliance, said cost reductions were due "entirely to the efforts of early years providers" and not because of government efforts.

He said: "For the government to attribute this positive trend to their own 'reforms' is completely disingenuous."

Lucy Powell, Labour's shadow minister for childcare and children, said childcare costs under the coalition government "are soaring, adding pressure to family life and shutting parents out of work".

Scotland's minister for children and young people, Aileen Campbell, said while average costs were lower in Scotland than in England and Wales the issue "remains a significant challenge for many parents".

"That's why we're acting now, delivering increased and more flexible early learning and childcare of 600 hours a year for three and four-year-olds and the most vulnerable two-year-olds from August," the minister said.

Liz Bayram, chief executive of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, added: "To help more parents access affordable, high quality childcare, government needs to invest appropriately in childcare and recognise the economic benefit of supporting families to balance work and caring responsibilities."

Average weekly childcare costs, 2014 (£)

Region/nation Nursery 25 hours (under 2) Nursery 25 hours (2 and over) Childminder 25 hours (under 2) Childminder (2 and over) After-school club 15 hours

Source: Family and Childcare Trust

East of England






East Midlands












North-east England






North-west England






South-east England






South-west England






West Midlands






Yorkshire & Humberside
























Britain average







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  • rate this

    Comment number 1203.

    Yet another example of people holding their hands out, asking for state assistance. Others ask for better railways, improved roads, more police, more nurses, cheaper fuel and power, lower prices at the supermarket, BUT no one wants to pay more taxes or contribute more to the state coffers. If you decide to have children, accept the consequences, like previous generations.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1202.

    I totally agree with DenmarK. People used to manage with 2, 3 and more children years ago, and one parent stayed at home to care for them. These days, with all the taxes, high rents, mortgages and other outgoings, it's not easy to live well, but in "the old days", folk were generally happier and less stressed. If you decide to have a child, you should be at home with it, so is work really best?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1201.

    @ 1198.Transition_Town_Man

    That has to be one of the most sensible comments I have ever read on this site.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1200.

    It couldn't be simpler; if you can't afford it, tough.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1199.

    What a society ! Brutal and cynical.
    The government pays billions for bankers - and you mutter but don't do anything.
    But if it is for the most precious thing of all - children - the majority of people here have foam on their mouth when help is mentioned and it is suggested that poor people should not breed and women should stop working. What next? Forced contraception? Abortion? Infanticide?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1198.


    If one parent stayed at home, there would be...

    less unemployment
    less need for childcare subsidies
    less traffic
    less burglaries
    less stress
    more time with the kids
    less delinquency
    better health
    more fab home cooking
    probably better sex too

    and, pehaps most importantly...

    rents and mortgages would simply fall to a level supportable by the average single household income.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1197.

    "I go to work and have nothing to show for it" have child care services to show for it. Kids are a lifestyle choice, don't expect others to pick up your bill. I have 2 kids who went to nursery full time, it cost an arm and a leg. if it was done on the cheap min wage and loads of kids per staff, then they'd whinge about that too

  • rate this

    Comment number 1196.

    18 Minutes ago

    If you cannot afford to have children and bring them up then you know the answer.
    Couldn't agree more, if you can't afford children don't have them, simple as that.

    You should work out beforehand if you can afford them or not, so stop moaning about child care costs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1195.

    My wife and I definitely wanted children. Neither of us were on a high salary, but then again we've never led an extravagant lifestyle. We both agreed that if we were blessed with children, one of us would stay at home to bring them up. Neither of us either expected or wanted to have both children and a career. Why pay someone else to look after your kids or put a career before your children?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1194.

    1193 Babycat

    Economic eudaimonia is an oxymoron.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1193.

    @1154. revolutionnow999
    "I’m quite disgusted at the highly rated posters advocating economic eugenics here."

    Economic eudaimonia is more tricky to implement.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1192.

    Economically why keep working parents out of work?

    By working they contribute income tax and NI.

    By not working they are not spending money on nurseries or childminders (take out the staff's income tax and GDP)

    Take 10 children out of a Nursery = 2+ staff gone. 70k saved by parents

    Take out the 2 staff's income tax and Ni and add it to that lost of the once working parent = economic stupidity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1191.

    Some people pay more for their commute to work than their mortgage so what's the big deal ? If you cannot afford to have children and bring them up then you know the answer. I would like a top of the range new Audi but cannot afford one so I have to do without. If I bought a new car the payments would exceed my mortgage unless I bought a more expensive house of course.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1190.

    @1179 just a thought
    ‘Greed is a mentality, if the less well off seek more then it is still greed’

    To state the obvious…again, greed is

    1. excessive consumption of or desire for food; gluttony
    2. excessive desire, as for wealth or power

    Help with childcare is not greed. Asking customers on minimum wage to pay for your multi-million pound salary is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1189.

    Are some people really stupid enough to be paying extortionate nursery fees and sign up to onerous contracts because they can't be asked to look for alternatives? We used childminders for our two daughters and the costs were minimal compared to nurseries.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1188.

    @1179. just a thought

    So basically in your ideology anyone wanting a little improvement or a little more is greedy?

    I am guessing that you have plenty then

  • rate this

    Comment number 1187.

    Never did I think that parents could be so selfish regarding their children.
    Some even seem to say they are an inconvenience to their careers.
    Disgraceful !

  • rate this

    Comment number 1186.

    Child minders are low paid and from my own experience are excellent , they do not charge the extortionate amounts that nurseries do yet they get lumped in with the 'childcare' costs too much, has the name Truss got something to do with this perchance? Squeeze out the child minders and only have expensive nurseries available, thats what its going to be if she gets her way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1185.

    I am 23 with 1 child and a mortgage. me and my partner are what I would say low earners and we mange to pay our mortgage and child care without any help. it all goes down to life style and if you live above your means. don't by a house at the top of your budget don't have all top make stuff. cut down or stop smoking and drinking you wlll soon realise you can afford both

  • rate this

    Comment number 1184.


    So by not wanting taxes spent on other people than yourself makes you greedy?

    You don't see all the non smokers marching on Downing Street demanding a cut in taxes because the NHS bill is so vast due to smoking related illnesses? Or non-drinkers or non-drivers they should pay their own way.

    I am sure we can dissect everyone's jobs/hobbies on here for taxes in their favour.


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