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Summer childcare has increased by 5% since 2019 and the number of places is falling, according to a new survey.
Summer childcare costs have risen by 5% in the last two years and only a third of local authorities in England have enough holiday childcare for parents in their area who work full time.
Coram Family and Childcare’s 16th annual survey was last conducted in 2019 and finds that the average place at a holiday club now costs £145 per week – more than double what parents pay for an after school club during term time.
In addition to the lack of childcare availability in England, the report also reveals that a third of all local authorities in the UK have reported a decrease in the number of holiday childcare places available, potentially as a result of the pressures on the sector from Covid-19.
The survey demonstrates considerable regional variation across the UK. This ‘postcode lottery’ means that parents in the South West are paying up to 19% more for holiday places than parents in the North West. The report also highlights extreme shortages in holiday childcare for disabled children, with only 16% of local authorities in England reporting that they have enough. Other notable gaps in England include holiday childcare for older children aged 12-14 and children living in rural areas with only 13% and 12% of local authorities respectively reporting they have enough childcare availability.
Megan Jarvie, Head of Coram Family and Childcare, said: “Rising costs and falling availability [of summer childcare] means that parents are facing a double squeeze as they search for childcare they can afford that meets their needs. Without action to make sure there is affordable out of school childcare for every child who needs it, we are at risk of seeing parents – and mothers in particular – struggle to keep working.”
The report sets out actions that the Scottish, Welsh and UK governments can take to fix the problems in the system, including additional funding, ensuring out of school childcare is part of pandemic recovery planning, given its role in helping children to catch up on lost learning and supporting parents to work, moving to upfront payments for the childcare element of Universal Credit so that it offers comparable support to families claiming Tax Free Childcare and ensuring there is enough year-round childcare for every working family that needs it, including school age children, with priority being given to the most challenging areas – children in rural areas, children with disabilities and 12 to 14 year olds.