The average cost of putting a child in nursery has increased dramatically, by as much as 30%. This means that the cost of having a child in nursery for 25 hours a week is now £107 on average, which equates to £11,000 per year for full-time care. This figure continues to rise at a rate that is five times faster than the rise in salary.
The cost of childcare is proving to be crippling to the point that many parents – particularly mothers – have had to either give up work or give up on their ambition to go back to work, because the cost of childcare is more than a part-time wage.The Labour Party says that this is damaging to the economy because rising costs act as a ‘lock’ which prevents these parents from re-entering the job market.
How 2012 compares with 2013
The cost of childcare rose by a staggering 19% from December 2012 to December 2013 according to research by findababysitter.com. The information was released in the website’s annual report, which surveyed information provided by the 231,000 nannies and child-minders on its database.
The wages of nannies have shown the sharpest increase, going from an average of £6.59 in December 2012 to £8.73 by a year later, constituting a rise of 25%! Despite, these worrying figures, it must be stated in the interest of fairness that the figures take no account of government-funded free nursery school places.
Women are the biggest victims of the rising costs
As previously stated, it is primarily women who are locked out of the job market, but mothers also face other problems, as illustrated by the way in which in a survey conducted by Workingmums.co.uk. 35% claimed that they had not received the appropriate level of understanding from their employer with regard to family issues
How the Government aims to tackle the issue
The Education Department has said that it is currently taking action to combat these problems, including increasing free education for children aged between three and four from 12.5 to 15 hours per week. This is as well as offering ‘extended support’ for parents with low incomes who wish to hire childcare for their two-year-olds.
In addition, the government also insists that it is taking ‘decisive action’ by introducing childcare on a tax-free basis.This is under the provision of which all eligible families receive up to £1200 towards the care of each child, as well as using tax credits to meet up to 70 % of the cost of childcare for low and middle-income families.
If you are feeling the stress of childcare, here are some useful resources which may help you understand the entitlements, supper and advice:
Childcare Vouchers: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/calcs/ccin.htm
Government Help: https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/childcare-tax-credits
Tax Credit Helpline: 0345 300 3900