The cost of living crisis has seen many people’s bills increase overnight with childcare named yet another area being impacted by rising costs. Labour is now warning Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the government that childcare costs are so high parents are having to reduce the hours they work.
New analysis from Labour has shown the average family in the UK now spends nearly £1,500 more on a nursery place than they did five years ago.
A survey published by the campaign groups Pregnant Then Screwed and Mumsnet revealed that two thirds of 27,000 parents said that costs had significantly increased over the last six months and that they were paying as much or more for their childcare than for their rent or mortgage. Almost half of working mothers said they were considering leaving their jobs due to childcare costs and 40 per cent were now working fewer hours.
For the parents of primary school children, after school clubs are now costing 20 per cent more than they did five years ago, with some parents spending more on after school clubs than on their weekly food shop.
An Early Years Alliance report looking at childcare providers found that only 57 per cent of local authorities reported sufficient places available for children under the age of two. And with a decade of austerity measures, it’s no surprise that thousands of children’s centres have been forced to close with successive Conservative governments cutting off funding for them and now underfunding childcare providers.
The chancellor’s spring budget failed to outline any additional support for parents and working families. Speaking to the Guardian, Joeli Brearley, founder of Pregnant Then Screwed, said the government is once again ignoring “the plight of young families”. “The government says they want to support hardworking families, but families don’t work without childcare,” she said. “It is beyond frustrating that childcare is being ignored time and time again.”