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Annual childcare survey reveals that childcare costs twice as much as food and drink

Findings from the 16th annual Childcare Survey from the Family and Childcare Trust reveal that still there is a lack of affordable, accessible childcare in the UK. Based on a survey of local authorities’ Family Information Services in England, Scotland and Wales, it found families are spending twice as much on a part-time childcare place as on food and drink in a year, at over £6000 every year.

Key findings include:

  • The average price of a part-time childcare place for a child under 2 is £116 for a nursery place, or £110 for a childminder.
  • Nursery prices for under 2s are almost unchanged on 2016 (up 0.1%), whilst childminder prices have risen by 1.9% over the same period.
  • The majority of local authorities in England report that there is not enough care available in their area.
  • Only a third of local authorities believe that there will be enough childcare in their area for families who are eligible for the extended 30-hour entitlement.
  • Nearly half (44%) of local authorities are concerned that the funding of the free offer will lead to reduced financial sustainability of some settings.

Liz Bayram, Chief Executive, Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years comments:

“PACEY recognises the difficulties families experience due to the high cost of childcare across the UK. However the fact that nursery costs have remained stable, and childminders have risen in line with inflation, despite huge increases in operating costs and removal of local authority support, is a credit to the sector to minimise the impact on parents.

“Childcare providers are dedicated, trained professionals who offer a high quality service to families, and yet they are among the lowest paid in the UK. Indeed, according to Government figures released just last week, the average total income of a childminder in the UK is just £10,100.

“It is difficult to see how childcare costs will go down in the coming years when staff and pension costs are due to rise and inflation is likely. On top of this, the free early education and childcare entitlement is underfunded in many areas – with funding levels fixed until at least 2020. Government needs to act now to ensure that the early years sector has the funding and support it needs so that parents can access affordable, high quality childcare that all children deserve.”