Part-time childcare costs for a family of two children have overtaken the average UK mortgage bill by 4.7 per cent, according to new research from the Family and Childcare Trust.
The Family and Childcare Trust’s annual childcare costs report shows, for a family of two children, the cost for one child in part-time nursery care and one in an after school club is £7,549 a year. This compares to the average UK mortgage cost of £7,207. The cost for the same family needing full-time childcare would amount to £11,700 a year, 62 per cent higher than the average UK mortgage, says the Trust.
Childcare costs are also outstripping other household bills. Twenty five hours of childcare in a nursery for a child under two costs an average of £109.89 a week in Britain, says the report.
It says that since the first survey in 2002, childcare costs have risen more than inflation every year. A full-time nursery place for a child under two now costs £9,850 a year, a rise of 3.3 per cent on 2013.
Parents in Britain use more of their salary to pay for childcare – more than a quarter (26.6 per cent) – than most other European countries, according to the Organisation of Economic and Cooperation and Development (OECD) data.
Anand Shukla, Chief Executive at Family and Childcare Trust said: “When even part-time childcare costs outstrip the average mortgage for a family home – and many parents have to spend more than a quarter of their income on childcare – it’s clear that our childcare system isn’t fit for purpose. We need a childcare system that helps parents who want to work and contribute to the economy and gives children the best start in life. The Family and Childcare Trust wants to see all political parties commit to a long-term childcare strategy that delivers for parents, providers, and crucially, for children.”
Julian Foster, Managing Director at Computershare Voucher Services, who sponsor the annual childcare costs survey, said: “The 2014 childcare costs survey shows that childcare is placing a huge financial burden on families, but these figures will not surprise parents. Computershare Voucher Services hears from many parents who have to seriously consider whether it is worth going to work because families are paying out an extraordinarily high proportion of their income on childcare. In the short-term employers can help working parents through offering childcare voucher schemes and flexible working, but long-term, the system needs to change.”
As well as a long-term vision for childcare in Britain, the Family and Childcare Trust believes that there are some immediate steps that the Government could take in order to address escalating childcare costs and make sure that work always pays:
– Extend free early education to all two year olds.
– Extend the pupil premium to the most disadvantaged two, three and four year olds. Make better use of school premises and children’s centres to provide high quality and flexible childcare provision.
– Up rate Working Tax Credits support for childcare to account for cost increases since 2005.
– In future, increase support with childcare costs in Universal Credit to a minimum of 85 per cent for all parents.
– Effectively enforce the duty on local authorities to provide sufficient childcare.