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Childcare costs soaring - now costing more than private school !

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Some parents are paying more than £22,000 a year in childcare costs, as fees rise quicker than inflation. It means the cost of getting someone to watch your pre-schooler play rivals the fees at some of the country's swankiest private schools.

The Daycare Trust's annual survey into childcare costs found that parents in London paying for 50 hours of childcare a week face an annual bill of £22,100. Parents needing 25 hours of childcare each week pay up to £11,050.

On average across England parents pay £88 a week for 25 hours' childcare a week, which is more than half gross average part-time earnings of £153 per week.

Average yearly expenditure on childcare is £4,576 for English parents, £4,368 for Scottish parents and £4,056 for Welsh parents for 25 hours of nursery care per week, for a child under two-years-old.

So, isn't it cheaper for parents to stay at home?

Apparently not. Despite there being a rise in costs above the rate of inflation for all types of childcare, parents are being forced back to work due to financial pressures.

The report states that: "There is some anecdotal evidence of mothers returning to work earlier than planned after having a baby, or looking for work to supplement income, and therefore an increased demand for childcare."

Alison Garnham, chief executive of the Daycare Trust, said: "Over the last year, families across the UK have been hit hard by the impact of the recession, with parents facing the strain of losing jobs, having their hours cut back, or facing pay cuts - all of which is compounded further by childcare costs shooting up.

"Daycare Trust is calling for the maximum proportion of childcare costs the poorest parents can claim through tax credits to be increased from 80% to 100%, and for the free entitlement be extended."

All children from the age of three are entitled to at least 12.5 hours per week of free early education. They will become eligible for this in the school term following their third birthday.

Parents may be eligible for extra help with childcare costs through the childcare element of Working Tax Credit. The amount of the childcare element that you receive will depend on your family income and circumstances. You can check if you're eligible at the Paying For Childcare website.

Currently the childcare element can cover up to 80% of eligible childcare costs. Eligible childcare costs are set at £175 per week for 1 child and £300 per week for two or more children. For example, if you have one child in childcare you could receive up to a maximum of £140 per week (80% of £175). With two or more children in childcare, you could receive up to £240 (80% of £300) per week.

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11th February 2010, 18:51
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Page updated 5th Oct 2015, 13:25
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