Families 'struggle to afford child care'

Childcare costs have risen faster than inflation for ten years in a row, reports The Daily Mail, with some parents paying more for childcare than their mortgage. Families struggling with debt face an additional pressure to make ends meet.

Research from the Daycare Trust finds the average cost of 25 hours' nursery care for a child under two is £102 nationally, and £126 in London. Fees for older children average £97 for 25 hours - which is slightly lower because of the lower staff-to-children ratio.

Working parents face childcare bills of up to £2,000 per month. Over the last 12 months, nursery costs have risen 5.8% for under-twos and 3.9% for other children. As other areas of essential spending are rising too, many parents are paying the price to keep working.

An older report from the charity from 2011 indicates 41% of families were paying as much as or more than their rent or mortgage for childcare. A quarter of parents said that they got into debt to pay for childcare last year.

A spokesperson for debt management company Gregory Pennington commented: "If you have existing debts and need to pay for childcare, your childcare expenses are a priority over any credit card, personal loan or overdraft debt. Nonetheless, it's important that these debts are repaid in good time.

"Often, taking action to bring down the cost of these non-priority debts can make childcare affordable again. Speak to a debt adviser if you'd like to know more."

Lucy Bower

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