Cost of childcare has risen by 33 per cent since 2010

Parents are paying £1,533 more for nursery places than at the start of this parliament


Parents in Britain are spending a higher proportion of their income on childcare than parents in most other developed countries. This is the conclusion of a new report released today by the Family and Childcare Trust, whose annual cost survey finds that over the last parliament, childcare costs have risen by 33 per cent.

A family paying for a part-time nursery place for a child under two will now spend £115.45 per week, or £6,003 per year. This is £1,533 more than families were paying in 2010, but wages have remained largely static, meaning that childcare is eating an ever larger portion out of family income.

Nationally there has been a 5.1 per cent rise in costs even since 2014, with London parents experiencing an 8.5 per cent rise. Maternal employment in London is 15 per cent lower than the UK average, which the report partly attributes to the higher costs of childcare.

The report also finds that just 43 per cent of councils in England have enough childcare for working parents. Gaps in provision for disabled children have also increased, with just 21 per cent of English local authorities having enough childcare for this group. In Wales, only seven per cent of local authorities have enough childcare for disabled children.

In September 2014, the 40 per cent most income deprived two year olds in England became entitled to free part-time early education. But in November 2014 only 60 per cent of those eligible were actually receiving this help.

This means that 110,000 eligible two years olds are missing out on free early education. And, in 30 out of 152 local authorities, more than 1 in 10 three year old children did not take up their free early education place in 2013.

Jill Rutter, the author of the report, saysthat in some cases this lack of uptake is because local authorities simply do not have enough places for all eligible children, or are lacking funds to recruit enough staff.

The report makes a number of recommendations for improvement. They include:

  • Merging Universal Credit support for childcare with the tax-free childcare scheme to create a single progressive system.

    Extending free early education to cover all two-year-olds and for 48 weeks of the year for all two, three and four-year-olds.

  • Making early education and childcare a legal entitlement for parents, comparable to the right to a school place.

  • Amending the funding formula for free education for two-year-olds, so that it  meets the cost of provision.

The report calls on the next government to set up an independent review of childcare funding, in order to install a simpler system providing ‘progressive levels of support, quality and accessibility’.

The current system is too convoluted, meaning that many parents are unsure of their entitlements and the necessary funding is not being used efficiently.

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.

6 Responses to “Cost of childcare has risen by 33 per cent since 2010”

  1. Colin Lever

    78% of families use childcare. It has become an essential part of modern day parenting as both parents work to fend off the mountain of debt they have incurred. But what about the children? Nobody has mentioned the link between childcare and attachment. It exists, just look at the rise in behaviour problems in schools, there is the evidence. Maybe we need to rethink the role of childcare in society.

  2. Marie

    We hear very little from govt about their responsibility to keep housing under control and manageable on average household incomes and for families in the lowest half of income distribution, working hard often on low hourly rates of pay. Nothing about unfair family taxation which discounts care responsibilities (unlike other countries where they factor in the importance of family care). We hear nothing about the need to secure a living wage for citizens. We hear very little about allowing family life to flourish. We hear little about our young people struggling to find jobs and coping with ridiculous tuition fees. It’s always about registered childcare as if this is going to solve the country’s deep-seated economic problems. Realise it’s hard for policymakers – the problems faced are enormous – but please would they stop presenting childcare as the magic bullet? It does no-one any favours and distracts attention away from the real heart of the problem – housing/low pay/rising gap between the haves and the have-nots, between those who inherit wealth/assets and other folk struggling to cope on their modest incomes and being taxed to the hilt compared to families in other countries. There’s no respect for family life and no understanding of the daily lives of ordinary people raising children trying their best to cope with cost of living as well as meeting care responsibilities for the young and the elderly. If they want to support ‘childcare’ then they have to also support caregivers. It’s important to care for the caregivers which means valuing what they do – and this includes mothers and fathers as well as childcare providers (all mainly women though).

  3. Leon Wolfeson

    Why do you think the government feels it has that sort of responsibility?
    Their actions certainly don’t suggest so.

  4. Sarah

    Marie’s point is referring to the tax burden felt by single earner families – which does not compare well that of families in many other countries – not to individual tax payers or companies.

  5. Guest

    Also low in the UK.
    But don’t let that stop your little rant there, Marie.

  6. Marie

    Ref CARE report on taxation in UK – the one about International Comparisons (Pearson and Binder). eg At 75 percent of average wage in OECD countries (around £25k) a single-income couple raising two children has by far the highest marginal effective tax rate in the world. The EU average is around 35% but the UK is over 75% METRs are hardly ever published but the net effect is higher than looking at income tax tables alone and is a better indication of what is left in their pockets to pay their bills and pay for essentials.

Leave a Reply