Childcare costs are more than double the rate of inflation


Sending a child to nursery is now more expensive than paying for private school, after cost of a full-time place doubles in a decade, according to the Daycare Trust's annual survey.

The annual survey, based on figures submitted by Family Information Services, says average weekly costs of care for children of all ages rose from £85.93 per child in 2011 to £90.97 in 2012. The average full-time nursery place for a child under two cost £11,000 a year.

The rise in costs (6%) is more than double the rate of inflation, currently 2.7%. Parents can expect to pay around £5,530 a year for 25 hours a week of nursery care (£5,100 for a childminder) for a child under the age of two.

Parents could pay up to £14,000 a year, but this would be for full-time care for a child under two at a London-based nursery.

While childcare fees for pre-school age children are undoubtedly the most crippling for the parental purse, parents of school-age children have not escaped the squeeze.

The survey spotlights a particular problem with care for school-age children. Here, parents pay nearly £4,000 for two children to be looked after before and after the school day.

After-school club costs rose 9% (£4.14) between 2011-12 and 2012-13, from £45.53 to £49.67 for 15 hours of care a week.

The study also found that childminder costs in Britain have increased by 5.9% for a child under the age of two - from £92.68 in 2011-12, for 25 hours of care, to £98.15 in 2012-13

Childminder costs have risen by 5.2% for 25 hours of care for a child aged two and above - from £91.87 to £96.67

London nurseries were the most expensive for under-twos, where 25 hours of care cost £133.17
The average cost of after-school clubs in 2012-13 was £49.67 per week, up 9% from £45.53 the previous year

After-school clubs in the East Midlands were the most expensive, at £56.51 a week

The biggest rise in childcare costs was in after-school clubs in the east of England, where charges rose 38%, from £43.96 to £50.74

The report argued that childcare costs are becoming increasingly difficult for families to manage. Soaring childcare fees are a key issue for the Coalition, but the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are yet to agree on reforms to tackle the spiralling cost.

Anand Shukla, chief executive of Daycare Trust and the Family and Parenting Institute, said: "While wages stay still and childcare becomes more expensive, it's increasingly difficult for parents - and mothers in particular - to make work pay.

"We are particularly concerned that the steepest price increases this year - at 9% - is in childcare for school-age children, which is as important as care for the under-fives in allowing parents to work.

"We know that the government wants to reduce the cost of childcare to parents. But we are deeply concerned about proposals to relax ratios because this risks compromising quality, safety and children's development.

"We urge the government in this year's Budget to find ways to support parents with the costs of childcare."