Holiday childcare costs forces parents to leave children ‘home alone’

The rising cost of school holiday childcare could mean more children are left ‘home alone’ this summer according to charity.


It has been reported on the BBC website that The Family and Childcare Trust’s survey of Britain’s nurseries and childminders suggests a week’s childcare in holiday periods now averages £109.23. This is an increase of just over 9 per cent since last year and is more that £100 for the first time.


The Family and Childcare Trust surveyed the 161 family information services based in local authorities across England, Wales and Scotland in May, asking them the average cost of holiday childcare in their area and 77% of the authorities responded.

The report shows that paying for childcare for two children over four weeks of the holidays would cost parents over £850.

Charity chief executive Anand Shukla said with many nurseries closing for holidays, and cuts to youth services, more children may be left unsupervised. With these increased costs, it’s proving more difficult than ever to find holiday cover. Budget cuts have led to a lack of holiday play schemes and youth clubs which means that parents of older children are hit hardest

Mr Shukla told the BBC website: “We seem to be moving to a situation where childcare is increasingly thought of as something that affects only the under-fives.

“Our research shows that many local authorities are failing to fulfil their obligations to working parents, in particular those with school-age children who are poorly served or priced-out in many areas.”

He added that it was “deeply disappointing to learn that such little progress has been made to meet the holiday childcare needs of older children”.

Mr Shukla added: “With holiday childcare costs rising faster than wages, and with the average weekly rate in Britain now breaking the £100 a week threshold, we are likely to see more parents forced to take unpaid leave – or unable to afford to enter the labour market – and more children left without adult supervision during the summer break.

“We need to ensure that recent proposals to allow schools to determine their own term times do not add to the problem.”

The government’s Childcare Commission is looking at making childcare more affordable and a report is expected shortly.

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