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 903.

    894.Carolyne Doran

    My wife is looking after the kids today. I don't live with them.
    Also, I do not have to look for a job. there is no contract with the government as you say. I choose not to work, so they HAVE to give me cash. Anyone can do the's easy. I'm now sat ina pub with an Ipad. Where are you? At work?

  • rate this

    Comment number 902.

    Some families are fortunate to have grandparents around to look after their grandchildren. However, the way the government keep moving the goal posts by raising the age of retirement there will come a time when this resource simply won't be available for many.

  • rate this

    Comment number 901.

    Childcare is the responsibility of parents. In its early formative years a child needs at least one parent (traditionally the mother, but not necessarily) to be around at home in a secure environment. If parents can't arrange that, they should question whether they ought to have a child at all. The real issue isn't money, it's love and dedication which can't just be farmed out to strangers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 900.

    Lets talk solutions:
    1. Partner's tax free allowance to be made transferable until child is four in order to offset some of these costs
    2. Childminders permitted to look after more children

    Both have been proposed / discussed by Conservatives so maybe some action?

  • rate this

    Comment number 899.

    @891. TC

    @866. Yes I worked for 50 years paying into the system so I have paid for my Pension. and like many others I have never subscribed to the theory that says what's yours is mine, get it yourself.


    And your care home fees, likely to be 4-5K a month?

  • rate this

    Comment number 898.

    In order to avoid having children,I married a statue. This also avoids the thorny issue of same sex marriage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 897.

    If you can't afford to have children, then don't have them. It's that simple. There are far too many people on the planet as it is. So many people think it is some God given right to reproduce without giving a second thought to how they will be able to bring a child up, not just economically either. Oh and perhaps if we did not spoil our kids rotten with i phones and such like when they are 7..

  • rate this

    Comment number 896.

    For every bright, individual mind.......there is, unfortunately, the mediocre majority.

    Stop having children, giving them a poor existence & example, and burdening the resources (the rest of us pay for).

  • rate this

    Comment number 895.

    This is why back in the 50's & 60's and before then, mothers stayed at home and the men went out to work to support the families. But because it has now become a very material world mothers go out to pay for the 4x4's to take their kid's to nursery, pathetic really, go back to basics and stop wanting everything you see, no wonder there is huge debt involved !!

  • rate this

    Comment number 894.

    Actually, if you're on JSA, then legally you should be looking for a job rather than going down to the pub. So while you're in the pub, you're not honouring the contract you have with the government. Let's hope they stop your money soon. BTW, sitting in the pub in the middle of the day drinking your benefits away isn't what most would consider to be parenting, good or otherwise.

  • rate this

    Comment number 893.

    885.Milo Minderbinder
    CRB tests are fine"
    So you approve of the state regulating here?
    What did I just say?

    You don't need a licence to drive a car on your private property.
    In practice, parents do a lot more than "hope for the best" when it comes to their most cherished child.

    If you think child minder ratios are so good, why don't you demand a ratio of 1:1?

  • rate this

    Comment number 892.

    @875 I don't think that's it as said in previous posts when banks started lending more than 3.5 times salary it drove house and rental prices up in a bubble. Perhaps both parents needing to work can be traced back to this?

    Its what happens when you give people with little sense a decision between buying something they can afford or buying something they want.

  • rate this

    Comment number 891.

    @873. Have there own lives to lead.And enjoy they are not slaves.

    @879. Funny I thought we all had the Natural Right of freedom of speech. Well done BBC for letting him have his say as is his right.

    @866. Yes I worked for 50 years paying into the system so I have paid for my Pension. and like many others I have never subscribed to the theory that says what's yours is mine, get it yourself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 890.

    Ah but don't you just love 'em!

  • rate this

    Comment number 889.

    We UK/Swiss dual nationality paid 21,000 Sfr/year each for our son and daughter full time in CH. A lot of money, but still affordable if you are well qualified (Ph.D's) and have a well paid job. But we still decided 2 kids was the limit for us, our pockets and especially the over populated planet. Any more than 2 is irresponsible (a multiple birth in second pregnancy excepted).

  • rate this

    Comment number 888.

    About time people realised that having many things in the a luxury for the better off.

    Of course this will eventually result in significant social problems as the population ages even faster.....but maybe young immigrants can fill the gaps.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 887.


    "People used to rent until they married and had kids, but not now."

    Really? I'm fairly sure the average age of first time buyers has risen, my folks bought their first house in their early 20s on one wage (my Dad was a mechanic at a factory). My husband and myself, both full time professionals, didn't buy until last year at age 31!

  • Comment number 886.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 885.

    " Henry Hazlitt
    CRB tests are fine"

    So you approve of the state regulating here?

    "Those risks are best judged by parents"

    Sure, in the same way drivers are the best judge of their fitness to drive.

    "parents are fanatical for safety"

    In theory yes. In practice they just want someone else to take an inconvenience off them, at the lowest possible cost and hope for the best. Til it goes wrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 884.

    Child carers do seem to overcharge their clients these days.

    Is it because they see that parents have no choice? I think so.

    I am single with no kids aged 42, and if I had kids I would be a very poor man indeed.

    I am sure the love of your kids is wonderful, but an existence struggling for money is awful. I opted out due to circumstances.


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