Childcare costs more than Uni

The Government has released its Childcare and Early Years Survey of Parents 2019, reporting a rise in the number of families that found it “difficult” or “very

difficult” to meet their childcare costs.

In conjunction with this survey, new research led by childcare platform, Yoopies UK, reveals that the UK ranks in the top three most expensive countries for childcare in Europe, surpassing the price of UK University tuition fees.

A spokesman for Yoopies said: “During the election, childcare was called “the holy grail” and parties offered ambitious proposals to improve the affordability of childcare. Better funding of the Early Years Sector and improvements of Government-funded schemes were promised by all parties, and with good reason; Government research published this week revealed that over “one-quarter of parents” found meeting childcare costs “difficult or very difficult, a rise from 23 per cent in 2018.”

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“There is an incongruity between the number of families using formal childcare and the perceptions surrounding its affordability.

“Over a third of families continue to use formal childcare. Yet, parents admitted that if they were to improve local childcare provisions, they were most likely to want more affordable childcare (38 per cent, a 4 per cent rise from 2018) and more childcare in the school holidays.

“This suggests families are using formal childcare out of necessity, but cost-effective and flexible-hour reform is wanted.”

The survey also reveals a rise in the number of children cared for by their grandparents - 29 per cent in 2019, up from 25 from in 2018.

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Yoopies user and parent Emma admitted: “I’ve had to ask my parents to take care of my son during the week to save on childcare costs. But not everyone has family close-by who can or are willing to help.”

The research revealed that in 2019, more than three-fifths of mothers are in work, contributing to significant changes in traditional family structure.

However, well under half of parents (42 per cent) rated the affordability of local childcare as “very or fairly good”, raising the question of how working parents in the other 58 per cent juggle their career and childcare costs.

Despite the calls for more affordable childcare, a Yoopies study reveals that British parents pay far more than their European neighbours.

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The spokesmand added: “Without taking Government aid schemes into account, the UK is the second most expensive country for childminding services, with

parents forking out on average £858 a month. This exorbitant figure is £1046 higher than a year’s worth of University tuition (£9250), despite being a cheaper alternative to nurseries.

The most expensive country is Switzerland (£958), third the Netherlands (£663) and fourth place, France (£435).