A study by the Family and Childcare Trust (formerly the Daycare Trust) shows, for the first time, that part-time childcare is costing most families more than their mortgage or monthly food bill.

The figure is based on the amount a family with two children; one in a nursery part-time and one in after-school care. The average annual cost of this arrangement is £7549 - compared to the average mortgage payment of £7207 per year. This is twice the amount spent on food.

The report found that childcare costs have risen 27% in the last five years, with the average family now paying £1214 more.

Finding that childcare costs are rising is not new, but this report is the first to show that even part-time childcare is more of a burden to families than food and housing.

The report (available here) also looked into the supply of childcare and found that only 49% of authorities had enough childcare for working parents. The figure was lower for those with children aged 5-11, with only 33% of authorities providing sufficient care; even less than five years ago. 75% do not have enough care for disabled children.

Free early years places for two-year-olds was another area highlighted as a concern. 30,000 (26%) of the poorest children in this age bracket are missing out on free nursery education, with big differences between local authorities in the number of placements. London was mentioned as a particularly poor area for this.

 What can the government do to reduce costs without putting any more pressure on childcare providers? Share your thoughts below.

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