Childcare costs are exceeding mortgage payments for growing numbers of families in England, a new survey has revealed.
According to research from the Daycare Trust charity, childcare costs have risen faster than inflation for the 10th year in a row, with fees soaring as high as £2,000 a month.
The survey found that while mortgage payments have largely held steady, nursery costs have risen 5.8% for under 2s and 3.9% for older children.
Moreover, the average cost of 25 hours’ nursery care (about three days a week) for a child under 2 is £102, rising to £126 in London.
For older children, where staff-to-child ratios are larger, costs are slightly lower at £97 for 25 hours.
“If you have got two children in the South of England, you are likely to be paying a similar amount, or more, than your mortgage,” said Jill Rutter, research manager for the Daycare Trust.
“The combination of escalating living costs, stagnant wages and above-inflation increases in nursery costs have placed considerable financial pressure on families,” Jill explained.
Some nurseries, particularly in areas where places are scarce, have been found charging more than double. The most expensive nursery was found in London charging £300 for 25 hours’ care or around £24,000 a year for a fulltime place. These extortionate fees put it on par with a number of prestigious boarding schools.
More than half of councils in England admit there is not enough local childcare to cater for all parents who work fulltime.
Jill warned that in areas where demand for places is most intense parents were adding their names to nursery waiting lists almost from the moment of conception!
The findings of the survey will be shown on BBC Panorama tonight. The documentary examines the escalating costs and diminishing availability of Britain’s daycare services.
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