Increasing childcare costs undermining policies

The Family and Childcare Trust’s annual survey has revealed that the cost of childcare in Britain has surged to double the rate of inflation leaving many families ‘just treading water’.

According to the research, the average cost of a part-time nursery place for a child under two has soared by seven per cent in the past year to £122 a week, or more than £6,300 a year, with a ‘confusing hotchpotch’ of support schemes leaving many families at risk of missing out on the help they need.

With the highest prices for childcare between the end of paid parental leave and when the child turns three, the research highlights how this is also the period when the least financial support is available to parents. Furthermore, parents on lower incomes with children under three will not be receiving additional support this year through tax free childcare and so are likely to see their childcare costs rise.

Ellen Broomé, chief executive at the Family and Childcare Trust, said: ‘Too many parents remain locked out of work by high childcare costs and low availability. New government investment is welcome, but this year’s childcare price surge shows that without root and branch reform, many families will be left just treading water. The government need to streamline the current hotchpotch of childcare support schemes. We need a simple and responsive childcare system that makes sure every parent is better off working and childcare quality is high enough to boost children’s outcomes throughout life.”