Childcare costs: 'We pay £1,000 per month'

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Many parents in Britain are now spending more on childcare than their mortgage, research suggests.

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.

The average UK mortgage cost an estimated £7,207 last year.

BBC News readers share their experiences here of childcare costs.

Georgina Dean, Woodley, Berkshire

Georgina Dean, her husband and her daughter

We pay £1,000 per month for a full-time nursery place, which is more than our mortgage, and we have a new baby on the way.

Childcare will then double, when my new baby is old enough to go to nursery. I work full time as a legal PA, and my entire salary will be going on childcare, after tax and national insurance.

Although we're aware that I'll be working for no money, we just have to think about how much better off we'll be when I have a full salary once they're both finally at school.

It's sad that we're almost wishing away these precious early years of their lives, and we're anxious about what we'll do about them finishing school at 15:00 when nursery finishes at 18:00.

It is extremely tough and I miss them when I only get to see them for about one hour per day Monday to Friday, but I work for my sanity and because I'm actually pretty good at my job, which gives me much more satisfaction than being a stay-at-home mum.

More flexibility in my job would make life easier, but working for a global company it is impossible to have flexibility. We have no help from grandparents because they work and live too far away.

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Thomas Martin, Hook, Hampshire

Thomas Martin and his family

I've yet to find a nursery that charges just £11,700 a year. We are paying around £14,000 and I understand it is even higher in London.

My wife's name is Shree Martin and we are both 31. My daughter's name is Maya and she is just over two. We both work full time, my wife works as an analytics manager for a firm in Basingstoke and I for a procurement consultancy in the City.

If we wanted to have a second child that cost would double to £28,000, which is outrageous. I suspect many working mums do not earn a net salary of £28,000.

The government should stop thinking about subsidising childcare costs and focus on reform.

Nurseries should be able to operate more cost effectively, allowing prices to reduce. Subsidisation is simply not sustainable. My mortgage is higher than my childcare costs.

With ever increasing house prices and therefore mortgage costs, along with high childcare costs and rising food and energy costs, even families with six-figure incomes are feeling the squeeze.

We live in a wealthy country where our disposable incomes are so low, we would be better off living elsewhere.

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Katja Cooper, Hove, Sussex

Katya Cooper, her partner and daughter

I have one child in part-time nursery, three days a week. The monthly cost for this is between £500 and £600 and exceeds both my husband's and my childcare voucher allowance per month.

Our daughter will be three in May, which means she won't qualify for reduced sessions at our childcare provider until September.

As we both have no choice but to work full time due to both workplaces having turned us down for part-time work, we had to turn to family for two days childcare a week.

Luckily my mother-in-law comes down from Oxford on Wednesdays and stays with us for two nights before heading off on Fridays again to go home.

I'm about to go on maternity leave, which means my whole month's statutory maternity pay would be swallowed up by three days a week childcare.

Currently we pay about a quarter of our monthly income to our childcare provider, which is still less than our mortgage, but when we have our second daughter that cost will increase to about 45% of our combined income, which will be more than our mortgage.

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Natalie Gregory, Charlton-on-Otmoor, Oxfordshire

Natalie Gregory's partner and four children

The percentage of childcare cost should be calculated on just the lowest earner's income as this is what stops that member of a family returning to work.

I am a staff nurse, My partner Andrew works as a civilian police officer. I have four children. Katie aged 10, Joshua aged eight, Harriet aged three and Scarlett who is nineteen-months-old.

My partner and I manage to avoid childcare costs for the older two entirely (ages eight and 10) as my sister looks after our children on Wednesdays and I stay home Thursdays and Fridays.

Still, childcare for two children (one and three) on two days a week costs more than 50% of my salary each month.

After paying for childcare and travel costs to work, the financial benefit is less than £300 per month.

The value to me staying home and cutting costs by organising the home effectively, cooking from scratch every night and tutoring my older children is far greater than £300 per month.

I go to work to set a good example to my children and so that I have a career in place for when they are more grown up. I also love my job, so that helps.

Interviews by Lorna Hankin

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