Concerns over ‘insufficient’ holiday childcare


holiday childcareMany children look forward to the school holidays, but for some working parents it can be a nightmare trying to find a cost effective holiday childcare or play schemes to look after them during the day.

Added to this, more than half of local authorities in England have had their holiday childcare budgets cut in the last 12 months, leading to a shortage of available care this summer, new research suggests.

The findings were published in the Daycare Trust's 2012 holiday childcare costs survey, where it was also claimed that two thirds of local authorities are not meeting their legal duty to make sure there is sufficient childcare available.

The study looked at Family Information Services and Children's Information Services and the costs and availability of childcare throughout England, Wales and Scotland.

The results of the study show that the average price of a full-time week (40-50 hours) of holiday childcare or play scheme care in the UK has risen by 3% to £99.87.

This means that parents with two children now have to fork out an average of roughly £1,200 for childcare and play schemes throughout the school holidays, it is feared.

Holiday childcare costs in your area

In many areas of the UK there have been considerable rises in the costs of holiday childcare.

In Wales, the average price of one week of holiday childcare or a play scheme has risen by 19% in the last year. A similar rise in costs (18%) has taken place in Yorkshire and Humberside.

The most expensive region for holiday childcare in the UK though is the South East, which has an average cost of £110.06 for one week.

How you can save on holiday childcare this summer

Whether it is making the most of grandparents, cash-strapped but responsible university students or free sport coaching, there are many affordable ways of keeping your children occupied during the school holidays while you are at work.

Chief executive of the Daycare Trust, Anand Shukla, said: "This year's survey illustrates the lottery parents face when it comes to not only finding, but paying for childcare during the long school holidays, with the price of holiday childcare varying by as much as £20 a week between neighbouring regions.

"Council cuts to holiday childcare budgets and Family Information Services are hitting families across Britain hard, with only one in three local authorities now providing the childcare working families need this summer, despite their legal duty to cater for the needs of all."