You don’t have to be a (paid) working parent to know that the cost of childcare has gone up in the last few years. The price of just about everything else has, food, energy, rent/mortgages, so why shouldn’t childcare?
But even we were shocked by figures published by the Daycare Trust.
The charity, which provides information for families and childcare providers, said nursery costs for children under two have soared by six per cent in the last year.
It said some day nurseries were charging up to £300 a week for an average part time place. That’s far more than a top private day school.
Of course this comes at a time when wages haven’t gone up.
So why are nurseries charging so much. Well lack of availability across the UK doesn’t help.
The Daycare Trust said half of local councils had reported lack of nursery places in the last year.
And a tax credit cut means 44,000 fewer families are getting help with childcare.
Anand Shukla, chief executive of the Daycare Trust, said: “It is sheer folly that any parent has to leave work because they cannot afford to pay for childcare but this is becoming the reality.”
The Daycare Trust study was only based on part-time care. this means parents enrolling young children for as much as 50 hours-a-week could be paying up £30,000, as much as boarding fees at schools such as Eton and Harrow.
This is not news to working parents. In fact many of us just accept it.
Samantha says: “When Imogen was younger I took a new job because it appeared to offer me a slight pay rise. The problem was I was expected to work longer hours in the office, which in the end meant I had to spend £200 a month more on childcare.”
“This wiped away any salary increase I might have had (plus the need to get taxis because of the terrible train service last year). Thankfully the employer eventually let me work from home but by then I’d was tied into a notice contract with my childminder.”
“Each month we had about £15 left disposable income. We didn’t have a choice but it left me worried most of the time and am sure it affected my work. Now being self employed we can choose our own hours.”
What is the solution? In Europe countries like Denmark have subsidised childcare.
Both parents there expect to work, and to have flexible working hours.
We could get angry but we won’t – we’ve got jobs to do.