Childcare costs outstrip mortgage payments, report reveals

Families are paying more on average for part-time childcare than they spend on their mortgage, according to a report.

It reveals parents are handing over more than £7,500 a year for childcare for two children, around 4.7% more than the average mortgage bill.

The report, by the Family and Childcare Trust, also shows that some families may be spending more on childcare than they do on their weekly shopping. The trust’s report says that 25 hours in a nursery for a child aged under two costs an average of £109.89 a week – twice the average weekly food bill of £56.80.

The study is based on information gathered by the trust from local authority family or children’s information services in England, Wales and Scotland. Each authority was asked to give the cost of 25 hours and 50 hours of childcare as provided by nurseries and childminders. They were also asked to give figures on the average cost of 15 hours’ childcare in an after-school club, or for a childminder picking youngsters up from school.

It found that a family with one two-year-old child attending nursery part-time (25 hours a week) and a five-year-old in an after-school club will pay £7,549 a year on average.

This is higher than the average annual UK mortgage, which the report says is £7,207, according to official data.

For a family with two youngsters in full-time childcare the average yearly cost is £11,700, the report adds, 62% higher than the average yearly mortgage bill.

The study says that since 2002, childcare costs have risen more than inflation each year and that international data shows parents in Britain spend 26.6% of their salary on it – more than most other European nations.

In the last five years, the price of part-time nursery care for a child under two has risen by 27%, with parents paying £1,214 more in 2014 than in 2009.

The report concludes: “Our research shows that the current childcare system is not working for anyone. Children are losing out on vital early education and families remain trapped in poverty because they cannot make work pay … Women fail to return to the labour market after they have children and the economy loses their skills and their taxes.”

Overall, during the last 12 months, nursery costs for under-twos have risen in all areas of Britain, it says, with an average increase of 3.3%.

The cost of after-school clubs has fallen in England and Scotland, but not in Wales.

Anand Shukla, chief executive of the Family and Childcare Trust, said: “When even part-time childcare costs outstrip the average mortgage for a family home – and many parents have to spend more than a quarter of their income on childcare – it’s clear that our childcare system isn’t fit for purpose.

“We need a childcare system that helps parents who want to work and contribute to the economy and gives children the best start in life. The Family and Childcare Trust wants to see all political parties commit to a long-term childcare strategy that delivers for parents, providers, and crucially, for children.”

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Childcare costs outstrip mortgage payments, report reveals
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