Many parents in Britain are now paying more for childcare per year than they pay for their mortgages, recent research has found.
The Family and Childcare Trust’s annual report says average fees for one child in part-time nursery and another in an after-school club are £7,549 per year, whereas the average annual mortgage last year was estimated at £7,207.
Full-time childcare costs come to around £11,700 a year, nearly two-thirds more than average mortgage repayments.
Despite successive governments spending £6bn on supporting childcare every year, childcare is becoming increasingly ‘unaffordable’ with a 27% rise in costs since 2009, the trust says.
The report said:
“Children are losing out vital early education and families remain trapped in poverty because they cannot make work pay.
“Childcare providers struggle with debts. Women fail to return to the labour market after they have children and the economy loses their skills and their taxes.”
Data from the OECD shows that parents in Britain set aside a higher proportion of their salary for childcare than in most European countries.
Liz Bayram, chief executive of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, told the BBC:
“To help more parents access affordable, high quality childcare, government needs to invest appropriately in childcare and recognise the economic benefit of supporting families to balance work and caring responsibilities.”
An increasing number of British people are turning to freelancing as a viable career option. This path allows parents to have more flexible working hours, which could help to reduce the amount of childcare needed. Another option is to freelance alongside a part-time job, although it is important to understand the tax implications of doing so.