March 4, 2014
Last month we questioned the financial wisdom of going to work for Britain’s working parents. Today the question became even more vexed as it emerged they typically pay childcare costs equivalent to over a quarter of the UK average salary. A report from the Family and Childcare Trust says that to have one child in a part-time nursery and another in an after school club would cost £7,549 each year. Not only does this represent 28 percent of the average salary of £26,500 and is more than an average mortgage which is £7,207 per annum. For those with full time childcare the costs are typically £11,700 per year. The report also notes that childcare costs have increased by over a quarter over the last five years and even the Government’s ongoing commitment to childcare is failing to alleviate the situation.
The figures, published in the Trust’s Annual Report are based on information from local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland. What they found was a situation in which working parents, many of whom have not seen a significant rise in income for some time, are having to make difficult choices about the viability of working. As we reported yesterday, many also fear that even flexible working which can help to manage the demands of family life, can harms their careers and income.
The report also notes that the challenge of making choices is becoming more pronounced despite the fact that the UK government has committed an extra £1 billion to support childcare in the current parliament and is currently spending some £6 billion annually as a way of supporting working families.