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 763.

    It is wrong to expect that childcare should be cheap. Workers should get the same wages as people working in the City - they were hard long hours and looking after children is exhausting mentally and physically. If you have children then one parent should do the care if they want to moan about costs. In the past we had to care for our children even after school.

  • rate this

    Comment number 762.

    surely mortgage payers deliberately put themselves in debt and a bigger house needs a bigger mortgage and two incomes , its all down to personal choice less debt and kids or a nice house and no kids its up to you really

  • rate this

    Comment number 761.

    When government restricts supply of childcare providers, through regulations masquerading as "safety" such as; childcare ratios, and child care licensing and accreditations, no wonder prices in this scarce yet popular service are soaring.

    It's simple supply and demand;
    When high demand meets artificially restricted supply, prices will go up.

  • rate this

    Comment number 760.

    Unfortunately, the poorer in our society will always breed like rabbits. It has always been like that. They don't have to but they can't help themselves. Their whole lives are run like that. Unfortunately, the rest of us have to pay for their selfish lifestyle through taxes etc.

    Just look at these huge families on benefits. They should be forced to be snipped after a couple of kids.

  • rate this

    Comment number 759.

    It like watching a horse always out in front...common sense lagging behind.

    Children are expensive...if you are poor...don't have them and if you are wealthier but stupid...don't have them.

    The bubble wrapped little robot dears........

  • rate this

    Comment number 758.

    If you are working hard even if it’s doing the most rubbish of rubbish jobs shoveling crap in the crap factory you should be entitled to have children and if minimum wage is not enough you should be supported. Its not fair to say to that person that his shoveling crap job is not good enough for them to have children and they need to get a job as a banker or something.

  • rate this

    Comment number 757.

    @727 Don't worry I wont have kids till I can afford them. Go figure.

  • rate this

    Comment number 756.

    @747 No it's not poor. It's a strong salary. However it puts you in the grey middle area where you get no support and are asked for pay full whack for everything. So swings and roundabouts. Compounded perhaps if she is a single mother. Who knows. Not always as clear cut as it looks though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 755.

    If the government reintroduced joint tax allowances, then instead of going to work to earn just enough to cover childcare, it may be more viable for mothers to stay at home and care for their child(ren) themselves, thereby creating job vacancies which could be filled by the currently unemployed, thereby reducing the benefits bill.

    Unfortunately there are PC issues with this solution.

  • rate this

    Comment number 754.

    A child-minder can look after 3 kids @ £4.50 (eg) an hour per child - total £13.50. For this she provides a safe, WARM, caring environment and sustenance; also play and learn-through-play experiences. Children arrive from 0800 and leave up to 1800 (10 hour), Worth the money? You bet! It seems most of you would go round the bend stuck indoors with 3 kids for up to 50 hours a week.

  • rate this

    Comment number 753.

    I know that children are brought by storks or found under gooseberry bushes, but free childcare as well as free schooling?

    Perhaps Dodgy Dave will ask that nice Mr Carney to print some more money to pay for this sop to the Mumsnet brigade.

  • rate this

    Comment number 752.

    Only mortgage payers are mentioned in this article, what about the people that have to pay high rents plus the childcare they will be struggling more than mortgage payers.But the Government do nothing to help them.Low interest rates for 5 years but nothing done to control rent rises over that period.Maybe the rents should tied to house value and never allowed to exceed the cost of a 90% mortgage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 751.

    Just now
    715.Alaric the Visigoth

    I never wanted children, and didnt particularly like other children as a child, and yes it is a conscious choice of my own. Happily married and childfree

    You wouldn't be saying that if your parents shared your desires & inclination to be happy & childfree. Just saying.

  • Comment number 750.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 749.

    As soon as you have children you have to expect to make sacrifices in parts of your life - whether it is a chunk of your salary to go towards god quality childcare or your job/career if you choose to look after them yourselves. That is just the way life is. I chose my career and never looked back.

  • rate this

    Comment number 748.

    As a Mother, Grandmother and lecturer in childcare training the early year's educators of tomorrow, I find it incredulous that the most precious thing anyone could have (a child) is equated to bricks and mortar. Is this a reflection of societal values today? The cost of caring for a child should reflect the importance of the role. Stop stigmatizing 'stay at home' mums - encourage and support them!

  • rate this

    Comment number 747.

    @742 Cathy what about the child's father isn't he contributing? If not why not. £38,000 is not a poor salary to be earning.

  • rate this

    Comment number 746.

    738: It's pretty selfish deciding to have children you know you can't afford.

  • rate this

    Comment number 745.

    283. Alan Moderated
    Would not be an issue if house prices\rents where not so grossly over priced.

    Back when I was child most Mothers were just that, full time Mothers. Can't be great having your child brought up by someone else.
    Precisely, the average parents now both spend their time slaving just to pay inflated mortgage/rent.
    The only people benefiting are the money lenders.

  • rate this

    Comment number 744.

    @733.Milo Minderbinder

    You're right Milo, you do only have my word for that but what benefit would it give me to make that up?
    You exagerate numbers to make your arguement seem more important, when I say vast majority I of course mean in the area I live which is pleasant enough but populated by materialistic parents and kids who never seem to have enough of the latest stuff, like you perhaps?


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