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 483.

    No-one is forced to have children, no-one is forced to then put their children into child care, so why this furore?
    There are many things I want, but I either can't afford them, or I'm not prepared to forego other things in order to have them. The problem is that we live in a society of "I want it, so I'm going to have it."
    It's common knowledge that children are expensive. Deal with it, we have.

  • rate this

    Comment number 482.

    Childcare is insanely expensive but that's the market. I know this won't/can't apply to everyone but maybe the idea of extended families with just grandparents might really help. Yes, grandparents aren't just babysitters and have their own lives but in other cultures even within Britain, this model allows parents to work and the child to be in the care of a trusted and experienced person.

  • rate this

    Comment number 481.

    As a parent this makes me so angry,if you don't want/can't afford child care DON'T HAVE CHILDREN AND WORK! Also having children per say is not mandatory,contraception has been about for decades,yea gods!

  • rate this

    Comment number 480.

    If it discourages people from having lots of kids, then it could be a good thing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 479.

    @433.Alaric the Visigoth

    I was not having a go at what you said, I was just giving a personal example of how it used to be done.

    I am single and I am fed up to the back teeth of paying the HIGHEST rate of Tax and NI to subsidise all these idiots with two salaries that cant live within their means and expect the likes of me to pick up the tab...!

  • rate this

    Comment number 478.

    I am really getting the impression that a lot of people on here think that the right to have children is for the well off only.

    Under that rationale, only people like George Osborne and Boris Johnson, will have kids, and we will never have another Jessica Ennis or Stephen Hawking.

    Be careful what you wish for!

  • rate this

    Comment number 477.

    I get free cash from the government to help bring up my 4 kids...AND I don't work.
    So what...bite me!

  • rate this

    Comment number 476.

    when making an informed choice about having children, responsible adults need to consider how much everything will cost and can they afford it. For some reason some parents think childcare is too expensive, yet the costs of running a day nursery (and employing trained staff) are significant. pay peanuts and you will get monkeys (with the associated consequences)

  • rate this

    Comment number 475.

    446.Gassing Pirate
    'All those who say parents should stay at home rather than work so you don't have to subsidise their childcare costs are really missing the point
    I pay far more in income tax and NI than what I do in childcare.'

    So you are in a well paid job and don't need the subsidy. I want parents to have the choice but would rather subsidise those with less earning power.

  • rate this

    Comment number 474.

    the country has enough money but its spent incorrectly. After 2nd world war child benefit was introduced to encourage people to boost the flagging population. 60 years later this payment is still made and only recently took account of money earned. 2 kids max get child benefit, the rest is up to you. we need better decisions, not more money

  • rate this

    Comment number 473.

    "...It's about time legislation was brought forward to stop child minders charging ridiculous sums."

    Ok - do that and a load of suppliers will leave the market at which point you're screwed.

    This is simple supply and demand. Suck it up or find another solution - grandparents, parents jobs at different times of day, friends circles....

  • rate this

    Comment number 472.

    One of the first questions me and my partner asked ourselves was can we really afford a baby. Nobody seems to do this anymore and EXPECTS everything for free!Nobody is prepared,or they just lack common sense.Our child care fee's for our 1 month old baby is £7,500 p.a. We are not high earners,we work 40 hrs. and I pick up 15-20hrs extra. We can afford 1 child so that all we plan on having.

  • rate this

    Comment number 471.

    4 Minutes ago
    The Cost or living has gone up 27%+ for all of us wether we have children or not. We are all struggling."

    No we aren't. I'm not. I studied hard and got a good job, so my wife could take 5 years off work to bring up our child properly. No struggle here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 470.

    I agree with all these people saying that they shouldn't pay for other people's kids, in the same way that they will doubtless agree me, my partner and our kids shouldn't pay for the pensions and healthcare of other people's old people.

    Or do young people not matter so much because they can't vote?

  • rate this

    Comment number 469.

    Assuming GDP per head is important to fund the state, then childcare subsidies continental-style are required. It makes economic sense for the country to maintain those mothers in work, who want to work, and ensure the next generation gets created to fund all of us in our dotage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 468.

    When our children were young ( about 15 years ) ago, my wife would somtimes pay more per hour to the childminder than she was earning herself. I think things have improved since then.

  • rate this

    Comment number 467.

    @384. Vonvanvol
    Go to another forum where worthless comments like yours are accepted.

  • rate this

    Comment number 466.

    How many people have mortgages on houses which are too big for their needs? You don't really need more than a bedroom for the parents and one each for the kids (if different sexes). You buy/rent a house big enough for your needs and get bigger one when you can afford it. There are too many who do it the wrong way round.

  • rate this

    Comment number 465.

    I didn't have the problem of childcare costs as the wife worked in school nursery. However I think it is not about should mothers stay at home or work, the main problem is the costs are excessive. There is no way the costs can be justified by the nursery's. The main reason they are opening all over the place is they have smelt the government cash being splashed, ie childcare vouchers

  • rate this

    Comment number 464.

    I agree with the general concensus, but there's a bigger problem being ignored here. We're heading to a society where the only people able to raise children are the few at the top, whose large salaries and/or family wealth allow it, and those at the bottom, who are entirely dependent on the state. Is that a good thing? I can't see how anyone can argue it is.


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