How much are you paying for childcare? Does it feel like a never ending drain on your purse? You’re not alone.
Last year alone, the average nursery cost for a child aged under two had increased above inflation to around £106 a week
An investigation into childcare costs has discovered that the cost of childcare has risen by £5 per child per week on average - and that increase is in the last year alone.
The research carried out by the Daycare Trust also found that the average full-time nursery place for under two-year-olds now reaches the heady heights of £11,000 a year, with one London-based nursery found to cost as much as £42,000.
This means that in many cases sending a child to nursery is now more expensive than sending a child to a private school!
It’s no secret that childcare fees can be a struggle for many families. In the last year alone the average nursery cost for a child aged under two had increased above inflation to around £106 a week (and that's just for a part-time place at 25 hours a week).
The average weekly cost of a 25 hour per week nursery place for a child under two:
- East of England, £106
- East Midlands, £104
- London, £133
- North East, £101
- North West, £92
- South East, £125
- South West, £113
- West Midlands, £96
- Yorkshire and Humberside, £102
- England average, £108
- Scotland average, £101
- Wales average, £92
- Average across Britain, £106
It’s a worrying trend - and with the Conservatives and Lib Dems yet to agree on reforms to tackle these spiralling costs, many parents fear that it’s set to continue.
But why are the costs so high? The study reveals that much of the expense of childcare is driven by staffing costs, as present regulations say that there must be one member of staff for every three children aged under two years.
In January, Children’s Minister Liz Truss announced this number would rise, commenting that the proposals would make childcare places available and reduce costs in the ‘long term.’
However, the Daycare Trust report says: “While salaries for nursery workers are not high, the need to maintain safe supervision levels and high quality childcare does, inevitably, mean that childcare cannot - and should not - be provided ‘on the cheap’.”
It’s not just pre-school nurseries costs that have risen either. After-school club costs were found to have risen 9% between 2011-12 and 2012-13, from £45.53 to £49.67 for 15 hours supervision a week.
Whether you are a full-time parent or a working mum or dad, there are ways you can boost your childcare budget right now. Make sure you take full advantage of tax credits, childcare vouchers and free childcare as it can make a real difference to your family finances.
Also, if you’re not sure how the recent child benefit cuts will affect you, see our child benefit Q&A section. If your family is affected by the child benefit cuts, see our guide on how to keep your child benefit.