Rising Childcare Costs ‘Harming the Economy’

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Rising Childcare Costs ‘Harming the Economy’

Among the many cost increases faced by families in these difficult times is that of childcare which, for many, is something of a necessity. Research by website Findababysitter.com takes into account figures provided by more than 230,000 people working in the industry, and although deemed controversial by some government figures, raises quite alarming concerns. Indeed, it shows that the average cost of a nanny is now £8.73 per hour, a colossal increase on that of a year previous which was £6.59. Industry analysts put the increases down to a rise in demand coupled with a lack of increase in supply.

Department of Education Disagrees

The Department of Education, however, casts doubt on the figures, pointing out that they take no account of the many free nursery places funded by the government, and insisting that the cost of childcare is actually stabilising after years of increases. Children of three and four are entitled to free nursery places, which is also not accounted for in the figures quoted. Others in the industry, including a spokesman for the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, Liz Bayram, considered the figures with scepticism, but also acknowledges that increases in fuel and energy costs, among other economic changes, are having an impact on the cost of childcare.

Parents Want to Work

The problem is further exaggerated by the fact that younger parents, in particular, would like to work if they could afford childcare. Of those under 24 years of age almost 40% declared that they would like to work but the cost of childcare is prohibitive. However, there are signs that parents are becoming more appreciative of the government’s efforts to help people with young children, although there are still substantial numbers who believe the government is ‘not doing enough’. The reasons for the high cost of childcare are many, as explained in this informative article, but clearly the old economic forces of supply and demand are exerting an influence.

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