A survey by the charity Daycare Trust has revealed a sharp rise in the average cost of nursery care in Britain for children under two. Fees rose by nearly 6 per cent last year, whilst average wages increased by just 0.3%
The costs for nursery placements or childminders for children over two increased by nearly 4 per cent.
The charity's research found the average cost of a part-time nursery place for a baby under two is more than £100 a week or £5,000 a year, with care in London and south-east England being the most pricey, with one establishment charging a whopping £300 a week for a part-time place. This could equate to £24,000 a year for full time care - or £2k a month - more than most people's mortgages.
The increases are said to have forced some parents out of work, whilst those who are employed are spending around a third of their income on childcare. Almost a quarter of parents say they have fallen into debt because of childcare costs.
Although the Government has vowed to invest an extra £300m to help families with the cost of childcare, and will also increase the number of free places in early years education, Daycare Trust says the recent limit on tax credits has already impacted lower-earning families. It found that last year 44,000 fewer families received tax credits, while those who did, got an average of £500 a year less.
Anand Shukla, Chief Executive of Daycare Trust said: "Daycare Trust hears from parents every day who are being forced to make difficult decisions about their career and family life as a result of Britain's high childcare costs. Being able to work and be financially independent is in the interests of both families and our wider society; yet as our survey shows, parents are being forced out of work as a direct result of how expensive childcare is. If you want welfare reform to ensure that work does pay for low income families, then you need high-quality childcare provision that is affordable for parents."
Have you noticed a sharp hike in childcare costs in the last year?
What impact has it had on your family?