Average childcare costs found greater than a parent’s wagesCurrent affairsNewsPolitics & Social issues
Thousands of UK parents are spending all their earnings on childcare costs, a report has found.
A survey carried out by insurer Aviva reveals that one in ten UK families see one parent “bring home nothing from his or her job after childcare and travel costs are taken into account”.
The research suggests families are struggling to stay afloat, with childcare fees forcing 25 per cent of parents of children aged between zero and five to work for less than £100 a month.
The Aviva report into childcare costs surveyed 2,000 families with children up to five years old. There are currently 4.8 million children in the UK aged five or under according to the Office for National Statistics. Of parents surveyed, 43 per cent said they used childcare to enable them to go out to work.
However the high cost of childcare means it now outweighs the cost of a mortgage for most parents.
An annual report by the Family and Childcare Trust reveals the average fee for one child in part-time nursery and another in an after-school club is £7,549 per year. In contrast, the average UK mortgage last year cost £7,207.
Louise Colley, head of Aviva’s protection sales and marketing, noted: “Aviva’s findings paint a picture of a nation of parents struggling to keep their heads and careers above water in the face of rising childcare costs.”
Colley added: “It is vital that the government and employers understand the circumstances and needs of these parents.”
The Aviva findings coincide with research released by The Jobs Economist, an employment consultancy, which highlights the squeeze on UK family incomes. It signals a positive outlook for Britain’s jobs market in 2015 but says inequality in pay will rise as many people remain desperate for work.
The government has been urged to extend childcare support for parents with children up to two years of age. It has claimed to be doing more than previous governments in tackling the crippling cost of childcare, with more families than ever before now eligible for free childcare.
Despite this, a recent study by the Pre-school Learning Alliance revealed the government’s free childcare scheme was facing “chronic underfunding”.