Parents facing holiday childcare bill of up to £800

New research has warned that working parents will have to find £828 on average for six weeks of holiday childcare per child this Summer.

Coram Family and Childcare’s 15th annual Holiday Childcare Survey reveals that holiday childcare prices have risen by three per cent since last summer, bringing the average price that parents now pay for one week of holiday childcare to £138 – double the price parents currently pay for after-school clubs during term time.

For most families, this means having to find an extra £484 to cover the summer holidays compared to term time childcare, potentially pushing many families into debt as this money is usually paid in arrears.

Coram also warns that parents also face a ‘postcode lottery’ with huge variation in the costs of holiday childcare across the country. For example, holiday childcare costs are highest in the South East, at an average of £162 per week per child, 37 per cent higher than the North West, where childcare costs are lowest, at £119 per week.

Furthermore, the survey also highlights the substantial gaps in the availability of holiday childcare, as only one in three local authorities in England reports having enough holiday childcare for all parents in their area who work full time. This gap is even bigger for parents of children with disabilities, with 17 per cent of local authorities able to provide enough holiday childcare to meet their needs.

Megan Jarvie, head of Coram Family and Childcare, said: “Working families are being left with few options this summer. The high price and low availability of childcare means that many struggle to stay in work, or can end up paying to work. Families need to see urgent action to fill the gaps in availability and financial support.”

Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said: “Reductions in government grants mean councils find it increasingly difficult to provide their own childcare schemes, but are working closely with their communities and providers to support families in need of holiday childcare. This includes asking schools to stay open, encouraging providers to offer affordable schemes, and working with businesses to explore more flexible working hours for parents and carers.

“Unfortunately we know many childcare providers are struggling, as funding for free early childcare fails to cover the costs of delivery. We urge the government to use the upcoming Spending Review to invest vital funding into making sure parents and carers can access the right childcare when they need it.”