London parents struggling to pay for nurseries: Survey

Almost half of London's childcare providers are under financial strain because parents are struggling to pay their bills, a survey indicates.

Nurseries, childminders, playgroups, breakfast and holiday clubs in London took part in a survey for childcare charity the Daycare Trust.

Of the respondents, 44% said parents' inability to pay was a greater strain than staff costs or rents.

The Mayor of London's office said he continued to highlight problems.

'Childcare crisis'

The recession was cited by 83% of respondents as the biggest reason why parents are struggling with nursery costs.

Ten per cent of respondents blamed the cut in childcare support which has left some families £500 a year worse off.

Four of the top five policy proposals in the survey require Boris Johnson's support, said the Daycare Trust.

Forty-six per cent of respondents called on Boris Johnson to lobby for a reversal of the tax credit cut.

In April 2011 the maximum amount of childcare support available through tax credits was cut from 80 to 70%.

Anand Shukla, chief executive of Daycare Trust, said: "Our research shows that potentially tens of thousands of childcare places in London are at risk, as sustainability is threatened because parents simply cannot afford their fees.

Return to work

"This is not a surprise - parents in London pay higher fees than anywhere else in the country and are being hit hardest by the cuts to childcare tax credits."

Sixty-eight per cent of childcare providers reported reduced funding from their local authorities.

The trust urged Mr Johnson to use his new term to tackle a "growing childcare crisis".

The Mayor's Office said Mr Johnson was making the case to government about the challenges of high childcare costs in London.

A spokesman said he was campaigning for 20,000 part-time jobs to help parents wanting to return to work.

He added: "Mr Johnson published his economic case for continued investment in Early Years provision last year - an issue that's already been raised with his Education Inquiry - and is working closely with London Councils on the impact of meeting free early education for disadvantaged two year olds in the capital.

"He continues to encourage better up-take of working tax credits through his annual Know Your Rights Campaign."

Surveys were sent to 2,600 contacts in the Daycare Trust's London childcare network and 418 responded.

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