William Eichler 26 February 2020

Parents face ‘postcode lottery’ for expensive childcare, survey reveals

Parents face ‘postcode lottery’ for expensive childcare, survey reveals image

Parents are paying 5% more for childcare for the under-twos than they were one year ago, according to an annual survey of childcare costs.

Published today by Coram Family and Childcare, the survey finds that parents have been hit by childcare costs rising well ahead of inflation, and are now paying an average of £131.61 per week - over £6,800 per year - for a part-time nursery place.

The survey, Coram’s 20th annual Childcare Survey, also reveals that parents face a ‘postcode lottery’ with childcare prices and availability.

The most expensive regions in the UK are London and the South East, where the cost of a part-time nursery place for a child under two is £165.47 and £144.90 per week respectively.

The least expensive regions are in the West Midlands (£116.25) and in Yorkshire and Humberside (£113.76).

In England, just over half (56%) of local authorities have enough childcare for parents working full-time, compared to 57% in 2019.

Fewer than one in five councils in England have enough childcare available for children aged 12-14, children with disabilities and parents working outside regular office hours.

Across England, the East Midlands and East of England report the lowest levels of availability across these areas.

‘Good childcare is essential: it enables parents to work and boosts children’s learning. But for far too many families in the UK, it just isn’t working,’ said Claire Harding, head of Coram Family and Childcare.

‘Recent Government investment is welcome, but many families still face crippling costs, especially in the period from the end of parental leave to when a child turns three.

‘There are seven different types of childcare support depending on families’ individual circumstances, and many parents find it difficult just to find out what’s available to them.

‘Investing in childcare supports is good for us all because it helps parents to work now, and boosts children’s learning and skills for our future.

‘We’re calling on Government to reform and simplify the childcare system so every parent is better off working after paying for childcare, and every child has access to childcare which supports their learning and development.’

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