Summer holidays no walk in the park for parents

Lack of local authority childcare and costly days out add worry to long holidays

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A survey carried out by affordable childcare campaign charity the Daycare Trust shows that there is a nationwide shortage of local authority childcare over the holidays, reports the BBC.

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According to the 2006 Childcare Act, local authorities are meant to ensure there is sufficient childcare in their area. The survey reports that most councils cut their holiday childcare budget last year, leaving parents “almost entirely reliant on relatives” for help.

Only one in three local authorities now provides sufficient childcare for working families over the summer.

The average cost of holiday childcare per week is nearly £100 according to the survey, rising to £110 in the South East.

The report coincides with the Department for Education’s campaign to look at providing affordable quality childcare and the Government’s vow to bring forward its plans to provide free early education for some 2-year-olds.

It also comes as charity Family Action has warned that many families are facing a summer “stuck at home” as many activities have become too expensive for families facing falling incomes and rising prices.

A poll of 2,214 mothers run by the charity reports that over half will be cutting back on trips because of money worries.

Chief Executive Helen Dent said, “We know that children get a boost from days out – including to their educational development. However, this year many parents are so worried that summer day trips will break the bank that they’re cutting back.”

The charity is calling for firms to improve offers for families all year round.

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