photo credit: Play Time via photopin (license)

Childcare costs for children under the age of two have skyrocketed by a shocking 33% since 2010, new figures reveal.

The annual childcare costs survey from the Family and Childcare Trust, reveals that over the course of this parliament the cost of a part-time nursery placement in Britain has increased to an average of £115.45 a week – equating to around £6,000 a year.

The startling figure represents a rise of 5.1% in just one year, the Trust says.

Parents in the East of England have seen the steepest rises, with part-time childcare for children under the age of two up 26% since 2014 to reach £118.82 a week.

Low-income families outside of London, who require financial support through Working Tax Credits, have seen record-breaking price rises. For these parents, the cost of sending a child to nursery has increased to £175 a week.

Despite the added financial support provided through tax credits, many low-income parents are finding themselves as much as £52.50 a week worse off due to childcare costs.

According to the survey, soaring childcare costs could mean that some families would be better off out of work. Parents are now paying £1,553 more than they did under the previous Labour administration.

Stephen Dunmore, chief executive at the Family and Childcare Trust, warns that should childcare costs continue to rise at such blistering pace, any support provided through the new tax free voucher scheme “will be quickly eroded within the next Parliament”.

“In spite of several positive initiatives, including more funding for free early education, the childcare system in Britain needs radical reform. In the run-up to the general election this May we want to see all political parties commit to an independent review of childcare”, he said.

“Britain needs a simple system that promotes quality, supports parents and delivers for children.”

Julian Foster, Managing Director at Computershare Voucher Services, who sponsor the annual survey, said: “Childcare costs are a major barrier to work for far too many parents.

“Employers could do more to help parents by making flexible working opportunities a reality for employees at all levels. There is still time for employers to set up their own childcare voucher scheme to help parents with childcare costs before the government’s tax-free voucher scheme is rolled out later this year, especially as many families won’t be eligible for the new scheme.”

The Family and Childcare Trust is calling on whoever forms the next Government to:

  • Merge Universal Credit support for childcare with the tax-free childcare scheme to create a single and fair system.
  • Extend free early education to cover all two year olds and for 48 weeks of the year for all two, three and four year olds.
  • Make early education and childcare a legal entitlement for parents, bringing it in line with a right to a school place.
  • Overhaul the free early education funding formula for three and four year olds to make it more responsive to social factors.

Nick Clegg will today set out Liberal Democrat proposals to give all two-year olds 15 hours free childcare per week, despite overseeing inflation-busting price rises while in Government with the Conservatives.

The Deputy PM is expected to say: “Over the last five years, we’ve made it one of our biggest priorities in this Government to ensure that every child – whatever their background or circumstances – gets an equal shot at the successful future they deserve.

“We want to build on that progress. So, in the next parliament, the Liberal Democrats will start by providing 15 hours a week of free early years education to every family with a two year old.

“We will increase the Early Years Pupil Premium from £300 to £1,000 per child, per year – boosting the support you can give to these children.

“The Liberal Democrats will make 15 hours of free early years education available to all working parents from the end of their paid parental leave at 9 months right through until their child is 2, and the existing provision begins.”