Childcare 'costing £15,000 a year'

Child being cared forWorking parents are now spending up to £15,000 a year on childcare as costs rise and fewer families receive help with the financial burden, a survey shows.

Nursery costs have risen by nearly 6% in a year, while 44,000 fewer families are getting help with childcare bills since the April tax credit cut, figures compiled by the Daycare Trust show.
The price of nursery care in Britain is rising above inflation with the hourly rate for a child aged under-two up 5.8% from 2009/10 to 2010/11. The increase for a child aged two and over is 3.9%, while in the same period wages have remained stagnant, only increasing by 0.3%, the survey found.

The average cost for a week of part-time care (25 hours) now exceeds £100 in many parts of Britain. In London the average price has rocketed to £130. The average bill for a British parent using 25 hours of nursery care for 50 weeks of the year for a child under the age of two is £5,103.

The most expensive nursery recorded by this year's survey costs £300 for 25 hours care, or £15,000 for a year's childcare.

By cutting the maximum level of support available through the childcare element of Working Tax Credit from 80% of costs to 70%, the average claim has fallen by over £10 per week, the Daycare Trust said.

This costs the low-income working families that receive it more than £500 per year and 44,000 fewer families are receiving this help with childcare costs, the authors of the report said.

The cost of childminders has also risen by 3.2% for a child under two, and 3.9% for a child aged two and over.

The study also found there are significant gaps in the availability of childcare across the country with a lack of childcare for disabled children and parents who work outside normal office hours. More than half of local authorities said that parents had reported a lack of childcare in the previous 12 months, the trust found.

Anand Shukla, chief executive of Daycare Trust said: "Today we are calling on the Government to reverse its self-defeating childcare tax credit cut, and to deal decisively with the childcare affordability crisis for parents by pledging to provide free childcare for all two-year-olds by the end of the current parliament."
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