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 923.

    Excuse me but am I the only one who thinks people who have children without thinking about the costs involved are just plain stupid? Therefore, to stupid bring up children!

  • rate this

    Comment number 922.

    Lets really cause a stir and only give child benefit for the first two children???????????

  • Comment number 921.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 920.


    I don't think anyone who slopes off to the pub at 4pm leaving their 4 kids and pregnant wife behind can call themselves a "good father".

  • rate this

    Comment number 919.

    @899. Who says I will need care home attention. Sorted fool don't need your charity, I planned you not appears not, but hey you may need mine as I still pay Taxes. Do you?
    People you can see into the future of other people like you, should be the people who lead this country instead of trying to be funny. You failed miserably.

  • rate this

    Comment number 918.

    Don't have children if you can't afford them. Why do you need more people when the world's population is now 7 billion? How did people live before welfare and government support? The man worked and the wife, relatives and grandparents stayed home to look after the kids not to mention their careful budgeting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 917.

    I am so fed up with people whinging about the cost of child care. How much do they expect to pay to employ someone full time to do what they don't want to do? How much would a gardener or cleaner cost?
    They always bang on about the "free" childcare in Scandinavia. The average parent in Britain pays 24% in tax, the average Danish parent pays 34%. ITS NOT FREE! You pay one way or another.

  • rate this

    Comment number 916.

    Every rubbish policy from both parties is now based on quantity and not quality and they call it progress.

    We all end up worse off due to over-population. It is illustrated here in child care costs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 915.

    @909 Why should i be expected to pay to raise your children? I have enough to get by on my own in my single little world. I shouldn't be expected to pay for your child because you're incapable of doing it yourself

  • rate this

    Comment number 914.

    It upsets me how much I have to pay to send my darling Gretelda to nursery for she should not have to cost me so much as she is a calm and courteous child who likes playing Scrabble and Rugby.

    Dictate the charge individually for each child I say!!!!!!! That'll improve the world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 913.

    My mother stay at home when she reared three children. She had a part time job when we were growing up. If child care is so dear then why doesn't one parent stay at home to rear the little darlings...............

  • rate this

    Comment number 912.

    Having read the comments of the parents mentioned in Georgina Dean's report, I can only conclude that today's lot who expect others to look after their children are selfish, greedy and utterly lacking in financial planning.

    When couples have children, they are their responsibility, not everyone else's. If they could not afford to produce them, they should not have had them in the first place.

  • rate this

    Comment number 911.

    many here refer to me as a 'scrounger'. That may well be true but since when did scrounger become a dirty word?
    Scroungers are parasites, that's why.

    "What I do is not illegal."
    That doesn't make it right.

    Taking bread out of hard working families' mouths, and putting it into your growing litters' mouths, is immoral. Theft is immoral.

  • rate this

    Comment number 910.

    Paying for child care is a real problem, unfortunately for you to go out to work someone must care for them and they need to be paid. I take it everyone wants FREE care whilst they earn good salaries? At least you have Childcare, when my son was little there was NO provision you looked after them yourself or if lucky gran or a childminder, who still have to be paid. I had neither, tough isn't it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 909.

    897. Iaindvc

    "If you can't afford to have children, then don't have them."

    How dare the poor have children. It is OUTRAGEOUS who do these people think they are! Only the wealthy middle and upper classes should be allowed to breed. A country full of Eton clones, everyone earning 100k + a year and NO welfare state!

  • rate this

    Comment number 908.

    When my wife went back to work 3 days/week at her professional job her salary only just covered the nursery costs.

    The problem is the whole strategy of both parents working is fundamentally wrong. One parent should stay with the children. It's better for them and there are more jobs to go round. The cost of living adjusts to the average total household income anyway.

  • rate this

    Comment number 907.

    Perhaps we need to normalise the 3 day working week so each parent can spend 2 days looking after the children, with the fifth day covered by childcare or other arrangements. Will ensure both parents share the job equally and improve their work-life balance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 906.

    How about a bit of perspective. A comparison between two disparate items and ignoring everything else is a nonsense. Mortgage costs are at an all time low and tax credits, child benefit and so on are all factors which need taking into account. Well done BBC for such an illuminating, uncritical "analysis" and typical bias. It is for parents to afford their children not the rest of us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 905.

    For my 12 month old son to attend nursery for 3 days a week (24 hours), we are having to pay the equivalent of £11k p.a. My wife has gone back to work at 80% of her original hours as we cannot afford full time nursery, but we are therefore effectively £22k p.a. worse off simply due to the overbearing cost of childcare.

  • rate this

    Comment number 904.

    people on benefits do not need childminders middle class wannabes who over stretch their finances do


Page 15 of 61


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