Call for help on childcare costs

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Parents across the UK are being asked to reveal how the soaring cost of childcare affects them, as two leading charities call on the Government to improve help for struggling families.

Save the Children and the Daycare Trust have launched what they believe is the biggest ever consultation on the issue in a bid to prove the impact of the costs, which have long been shown to be among the highest in Europe.

The charities said they hope to persuade the Government to reverse its recent reduction in the amount of childcare costs covered by working tax credit. They said the change, from a maximum of 80% to 70%, has left many families on low incomes with an extra £546 a year added to their childcare bill.

The charities said they already know anecdotally that many parents are struggling, but hope the survey will map the extent of the problem and provide irrefutable evidence to help their campaign.

They believe that families are being forced to cut back on household essentials and that the poorest could be priced out of work because of the rising costs.

The Daycare Trust’s annual survey found average costs of £177 per week for a full-time nursery position for a child under two in Britain, which the charities say is prohibitively high for families living in severe poverty, with an annual income below £12,000 (£230 a week).

Sally Copley, the head of UK policy at Save the Children, said: “Childcare is so expensive it’s becoming a luxury that only families earning a very good wage can comfortably afford. For families on low incomes they simply won’t earn enough to cover their childcare bill as well as living costs, effectively pricing the poorest families out of work.

“We hope this survey will reveal the impact of childcare costs on Britain’s families so the Government can better understand the barrier such costs create.”

Research from the OECD last month put Britain among the countries with the most expensive childcare costs in the world, accounting for 28% of the average net income for a two-earner household. Only Switzerland and the US had higher figures, while the average was 13%.

Anand Shukla, acting chief executive of the Daycare Trust, said: “Our research shows that childcare costs have risen every year for the last 10 years. We are urging all parents to complete this survey and support us to campaign for affordable, high-quality childcare for all.”

What has been the response from your parents? Are more parents struggling to pay their fees on time? Join the discussion below by sharing your experiences.

Source: MSN

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4 thoughts on “Call for help on childcare costs

  • June 4, 2011 at 3:13 pm
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    Having operated a daycare setting for 14 years, the increases in costs and adhering to constant changes, all have an impact on small businesses. A reduction in government funding coupled with not allowing ‘top up’ means many nurseries have been forced to compromise. An increase in annual leave entitlement has increased staff expenditure, and the issue over vat exemption, leaves nurseries in a no win situation when it comes to claiming back VAT, which incidentally has also increased. So justifiably parents are seeing an increase in childcare fees, but in fairness most of this has been a result of external factors of which small businesses have no control. So whilst the government are fighting fir higher quality childcare and improvements in staff education and qualifications, they are making it incredibly difficult and giving very mixed messages in the process.
    It is a very simple economic formula, if external factors beyond our control increase costs, then childcare fees will increase, or businesses will not survive, which will also defeat the objectives.

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  • June 3, 2011 at 12:11 pm
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    I quite agree. I am an owner of two small nurseries. I have not raised my fees since October 2009 as I do sympathise with the difficulties working parents are experiencing. However, I have extra costs due to rise in VAT, rates, electricity, gas and food. I have trained 98% of my staff up to NVQ 3 level and this incurs extra costs as they expect to then be paid in relation to their qualification and to which I agree. I have just taken one of my girls through their EYPS and she has just finished her course in June. She has now informed me that she is looking for employment elsewhere as there is no enhanced payment anymore and I cannot afford to pay her the increase in salary she feels this qualification deserves. I feel that we give extremely good value for money, but everytime I increase my fees I am confronted with a multitude of parents expecting an explanation for this. The Government are telling us that they want to support the working parents and also small businesses; well they should start showing us how they intend to do this. I cannot see it ever happening. We are giving a service that is required as without us parents would not be able to work and i think that private nurseries should be given some Government support.

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    • June 4, 2011 at 9:29 pm
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      I completely agree with everything that Margaret has said. I am an owner of a small nursery and have frozen fees for the 3rd year in a row – mainly due to new providers coming in and undercutting our fees for the business. Our costs have rapidly risen and include petrol and car costs as we run a Out of School Club as well as Nursery. Private Nureries need more support from the Government – all their money is currently going into SURESTART Centre so what about a bit of help for private nurseries. Childcare costs should also be paid in full for under 3’s and paid direct to providers to avoid all the problems we have with some parents spending this money before they can pay us.

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  • May 26, 2011 at 12:26 pm
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    Whilst I am a parent and agree that childcare fees have essentially gone up steeply in the last 10 years and also agree that more and more parents are finding it difficult to be able to afford good quality childcare. I would also like to add that the reason some nurseries are charging ‘more money’ is because whilst we as settings and practitioners are expected to provide better quality childcare and train to higher levels i.e degrees and EYPS there isn’t the financial support from the employers for the staff that are willing and able to do the training without having to raise the fees. People seem to think that Nurseries are an amazing source of income. After being a business Manager for a nursery for 9 years I can assure you that is not the case. Especially in the financial climate that we are in with soaring utility and food bills and the rise of minimum wage yet again in October. We need help from the government. If we are supposed to provide a service such as mainstream school EYFS then we should get the financial support that schools get.

    Parents should get more financial support as well with such as tax credits and I do feel it should be means tested as to income and expenditure for childcare. Parents at our setting appreciate that whilst we have to raise fees there is always a justifiable reason for this and we always ask parents to come to us with any concerns or if they feel they are going to struggle with the increase.

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