‘Free’ childcare savings affected by fee rises

Parents say savings from the 15 hours of ‘free’ childcare for two year olds are being diminished by fee rises, according to a Pregnant Then Screwed poll.

Close up of child's hands playing with colorful plastic bricks and red motocicle at the table. Toddler having fun and building out of bright constructor bricks. Early years childcare


The continued rise in childcare prices means parents will on average save around £1,440 a year from the extension of ‘free’ childcare for two year olds, according to Pregnant Then Screwed.

The organisation polled over 3,300 parents of two year olds and found a quarter of those eligible for the 15 free hours from April will be saving less than £90 a month, whilst 17% say their savings will be less than £50 a month.

The data found that the median saving will be between £100 – £120, or up to £1,440 a year.

The majority of parents polled (62.2%) have experienced a price increase in the last six months, with almost a third (32%) saying they have increased by at least 8%. 64% say costs will increase in the next six months, with over a third (35%) saying costs will increase by at least 6%. Of those who said their childcare costs would be increasing, 68% said they would be paying at least £5 more per day.

Pregnant Then Screwed says 22% have or are considering leaving their job or reducing their hours as they cannot afford to work. On the plus side, most parents who are already accessing childcare have received their code for claiming the new 15 hours entitlement, although those who haven’t accessed childcare before are struggling to register and find a place. Concerns have already been raised about availability of places when free childcare is rolled out to younger children from September.

Joeli Brearley, CEO and Founder of Pregnant Then Screwed, says: “The fault does not lie with the childcare providers, but at the door of number 10. Nurseries cannot magic up money to plug financial gaps left by years of chronic underfunding, and so they have to increase their fees. Parents feel like they have been sold a pup. No wonder so many are saying they feel stressed because of issues with the scheme.’’

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