A third of all local authorities have reported a decrease in the number of holiday childcare places available in their area, according to a new survey.
The annual survey by Coram Family and Childcare also shows that only a third of English local authorities have enough holiday childcare available for parents in their area who work full time.
The report found there has been a 5% rise in childcare costs since 2019, with 'considerable' regional variation across the UK. Parents in the South West are paying up to 19% more for holiday places than parents in the North West, it found.
The survey also identified 'extreme' shortages in holiday childcare for disabled children, with only 16% of local authorities in England reporting that they have enough.
Megan Jarvie, head of Coram Family and Childcare, said: 'As the country plans to rebuild from the pandemic, it is vital that children and young people are placed at the centre of this recovery. Holiday childcare will be crucial for giving children a safe and fun space to catch-up on lost learning and connect with peers – but this year more than ever parents are likely to struggle to find the childcare they need to be able to keep working and for their children to have fun and stay safe.
'Rising costs and falling availability means that they 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 Holiday Childcare Survey 2021 calls on the UK Governments to include out of school childcare within pandemic recovery planning, consider how the Holiday Activities and Food programme could improve access to affordable, high quality childcare, and move to upfront payments for the childcare element of Universal Credit.