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With the long summer break about to kick off you probably knew that already
Parents are facing six weeks of even more expensive childcare bills as the summer holidays begin for many kids this week.
Childcare costs are outrunning inflation according to new research by Coram Family and Childcare.
They’ve called on the government to make the childcare funding system easier for parents to navigate.
The Coram research found that the average cost of holiday childcare has risen 3% since last summer. That’s above the 2.1% rate of inflation.
Parents pay an average of £138 per week in Britain to a variety of providers to keep their children occupied in the holidays. Prices in England are significantly higher than in Wales and Scotland – where schools broke up nearly a month ago – and they vary across England. For instance, prices in the South East are 37 per cent higher than in the North West at an average of £162 a week. The report estimates parents could face a childcare bill of up to £800, more than double the cost of term time childcare.
Another issue is availability of childcare. The report says only 31% of English local authorities have enough holiday childcare available for parents in their area who work full time while holiday clubs in the private, voluntary and independent sector are on average 25% more expensive than those run by local authorities. The report says only 10% of holiday provision is run by local authorities.
While childcare availability has improved slightly in the last few years, the biggest gaps in England are for disabled children, where only 17% of local authorities say they have enough childcare, and for 12 to 14 year olds, where 14%have enough.
The report says government policies such as tax-free childcare and the right to request wraparound childcare have not proven effective in helping parents to access affordable childcare. For wraparound childcare, only 4% of local authorities report a positive impact for holiday childcare, a figure which has not changed since last year.
Coram Family and Childcare makes several recommendations, including providing upfront payments for the childcare element of Universal Credit, strengthening the ‘right to request’ wraparound childcare policy, including placing a duty on schools to assess and respond to requests and providing better information for parents on making effective applications and reviewing the efficacy of tax-free childcare.
It also calls for the Government to ensure there is enough year round childcare for every working family that needs it, including school age children, with the groups that currently face the biggest shortages – 12 to 14 year olds and disabled children – being priorities.