William Eichler 20 July 2017

Summer holiday brings nearly £3bn in childcare bills, report finds

Parents are facing a nearly £3bn childcare bill this summer and will be forced to either pay or lose wages by taking time-off, research reveals.

A new report from the New Economics Foundation has found the total cost of childcare for school-age children in England will be £3.44bn this summer holiday.

Government contributions will cover just £688.56m of this figure, leaving parents to pay £2.75bn.

This figure is based on the 4.7 million primary school-aged children in England costing £122 per week to be looked after.

Lucie Stephens, head of co-production at the think tank said this bill presents parents with an ‘impossible choice’: ‘Do they take a big financial hit to pay for childcare that doesn’t meet their, or their children’s needs, or are they forced to take time off work?'

‘Parents shouldn’t have to feel so helpless every summer. We need more affordable and better-quality care for our children, not just glorified babysitting,’ said Ms Stephens.

‘Parents should be able to work over the summer without taking an enormous financial hit or worrying about the quality of the care their children are receiving - if there is care available at all.

‘That’s why we need to support new and better ways of doing childcare. When parents have real control over the design and delivery of the care their children receive, it becomes more affordable and more suitable for their needs.’

The New Economics Foundation are working with parent-led co-operative models of childcare like Childspace in Brockwell or Grasshoppers in the Park in Hackney.

Ms Stephens said this models combine ‘decent pay and conditions for staff with real control and affordability for parents’ who contribute time and skills towards the delivery and management of the nursery.

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