Parents will be able to obtain tax-free childcare vouchers worth up to £1,200 per child a year, in one of the major announcements in the 2013 budget. Under the £1.4bn plan, due to start in 2015, the government says 2.5 million parents will be eligible to claim 20% of their yearly costs, up to £6,000. But what does that buy? We crunched the numbers for nurseries, childminders, nannies – and grandparents.
What they do: Day nurseries look after and educate children from three months to five years and tend to open from 8am to 6pm weekdays. Most offer the free early education places that are available to all three- and four-year-olds and, from September 2013, some two-year-olds.
Average cost: £106.38 per week for a 25 hour part-time place, while a full-time 50-hour place costs £11,000 a year, according to the 2013 survey from the newly merged charity Daycare Trust and the Family and Parenting Institute. In London, the average bill is closer to £14,000 for a 50-hour place. However, the Daycare survey found one nursery – it wouldn’t say where – which cost £42,000 for a full-time place.
Government contribution from 2015: For someone using a nursery part time, for 25 hours a week over 48 weeks, the likely bill would be £5,106. That means the vouchers will be worth £1,021 per child, or 20% of the total. For someone seeking a full-time nursery, where the cost is £11,000, the total is above the government maximum of £6,000. So they would receive £1,200 per child (20% of £6,000), with the contribution equal to 11% of the total.
What they do: Registered childminders are self-employed childcare professionals who work in their own homes caring for other people’s children, and are used by parents as an alternative to nurseries or nannies, especially for younger children.
Average cost: £3.93 per hour across Britain; that is £98.15 for a 25-hour week, according to the Daycare Trust’s survey. For a three or four-year-old the weekly cost for 25 hours is £96.67, up 5% on last year. Childminders who pick up children after school charge £72.78. Prices vary considerably from region to region. London, the south-east and east of England are the most expensive; a 25-hour week for a child under two costs £131.08, £112.76 and £106.90 respectively. The north-west is the cheapest at £84.13 followed by Yorkshire and Humberside at £86.11 and the East Midlands at £86.40.
Government contribution from 2015: They can be paid from the voucher scheme if registered with Ofsted or the relevant authority in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. The weekly £96.67 bill translates into £4,654 over a 48-week year, so the vouchers would be worth £930 per child.
What they do: Breakfast clubs typically run from 7.30 and 8am to provide childcare before the start of the school day until 5.30 or 6pm. During school holidays (Easter, summer, Christmas etc) many clubs operate all day (usually from 8am to 6pm). But childcare around the school day is also the hardest to find, with less than a third of local authorities (31%) reporting they provide sufficient childcare.
Average cost: Older children have seen the steepest hikes over the past year with 15 hours a week at an after-school club now costing £49.67, a rise of 9%. For a family with two children, before and after-school care in term time, costs nearly £4,000 a year.
Government contribution from 2015: Parents would be eligible for £400 support (20% of £2,000) per child. If they pay additional holiday childcare costs for their two children, they could claim more under the new scheme.
What they do: Informal, unregulated childcare carried out by friends and family, mainly grandparents, is by far the major form of childcare used by British working parents, according to the Daycare Trust. Just over one in four (26%) families uses grandparents during term time with another 4% using older siblings, 5% other relatives and 7% friends and neighbours. The charity Grandparents Plus says that 63% of British grandparents – seven million people – provide essential childcare for grandchildren, with one in five (19%) providing at least 10 hours a week.
Average cost: Most pay nothing, although some make small contributions. Often the opposite is true, with grandparents offering financial help towards childcare.
Government contribution from 2015: In the vast majority of cases, the scheme will do nothing to help the minority of working parents who actually pay grandparents or other relatives. To get any government support, you must use “registered” or “approved” childcare. Grandparents who want to become a registered childminder to look after their own grandchildren and allow the parents to qualify, must also take on other (non-related) children, and advertise their services publicly. Details of how to become a registered childminder are available from Pacey – the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, on 0845 880 0044 or at pacey.org.uk. There is also information on the Ofsted website at ofsted.gov.uk, the Care & Social Services Inspectorate Wales at wales.gov.uk/cssiwsubsite and the Scottish Childminding Association (childminding.org).
What they do: Increasingly they work in a shared arrangement, providing childcare to more than one family. They care for smaller numbers of children (usually siblings) and can take care of all aspects including washing and cooking,
Average cost: Very high; typically £8 to £12 net an hour for a live-out nanny; £250-£300 a week for a live-in nanny based on a five-day week or £400-£700 for a six-day week or 24-hour care.
Government contribution from 2015: Only for Ofsted-regulated nannies.
What they do: Typically on duty for 25 hours a week, with some light household duties. They are not permitted to have continuous sole charge of children under two.
Average cost: In London, around £75 to £80 a week, although some households pay less but cover the cost of weekly travel and/or language classes, says the London Au Pair and Nanny Agency. Technically it’s not a salary, but pocket money, usually in cash. The householder is expected to supply a room and most meals.
Government contribution from 2015: Unlikely to qualify as they are usually aged 18-plus, from EU countries and here for six to 12 months. Therefore they are unlikely to meet the registered or approved criteria.
Additional reporting: Jim Norton, Rupert Jones and Patrick Collinson
Source Article from http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2013/mar/30/childcare-vouchers-how-work
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