Childcare costs laid bare by UK region – how much nursery will cost for YOUR child


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Nursery costs have been laid bare by UK region in shocking data which reveals full time childcare costs have increased by up to 42 per cent over the last decade. 

MailOnline has analysed data provided by Coram Family and Childcare which studies nursery setting costs for children under two years old across the country from 2013 up until 2022. 

The figures showed a stark increase in costs over the last decade, at a time when parents are already grappling with rising mortgages, huge energy bills, petrol prices and food price inflation in an overwhelming cost of living crisis.  

A full time nursery place for a child under two in Great Britain has bumped up by 26.69 per cent between 2013 and 2022, going from £213 for a 50 hour week to £269.86. In England the average price was up 26.05 per cent, Scotland had an increase of 5.24 per cent and Wales saw a rise by 33.6 per cent.

The English region which has suffered the greatest rise in costs is the East of England, where the average full time weekly place cost £213.10 back in 2013 – but is now £303.61, a rise of 42.47 per cent. For Inner London the average price for a full time nursery place cost £266.50 in 2013 – now it’s £368.73, a rise of 38.36 per cent. 

Mother-of-three Rebecca Leppard, 39, told MailOnline: ‘Nursery costs are killing us. The nursery bill for our daughter is the same as our monthly rent for a three-bedroom house in Southampton.

‘Any financial planner would advise against this cost of living structure. And any person with a calculator will not be able to fathom how parents can afford to live at all after paying rent and nursery.’

Data provided by Coram Family and Childcare which shows the average price of a full time nursery place for a child under two in 2022 by region, and how much this price has increased by since 2013

Data provided by Coram Family and Childcare which shows the average price of a full time nursery place for a child under two in 2022 by region, and how much this price has increased by since 2013

Data provided by Coram Family and Childcare which shows the average price of a full time nursery place for a child under two in 2022 by region, and how much this price has increased by since 2013 

Here MailOnline has presented data provided by Coram Family and Childcare which shows the average price of a part time nursery place for a child under two in 2022 by region, and how much this price has increased by since 2013

Here MailOnline has presented data provided by Coram Family and Childcare which shows the average price of a part time nursery place for a child under two in 2022 by region, and how much this price has increased by since 2013

Here MailOnline has presented data provided by Coram Family and Childcare which shows the average price of a part time nursery place for a child under two in 2022 by region, and how much this price has increased by since 2013

Rebecca says her child’s nursery place costs £60 a day – and as both she and her husband are working full time, they need River in five days a week, costing £300 a week or £1,200 a month – as a minimum. 

The Leppards’ family rent is £1,250 a month – almost the same cost as River’s nursery bill. ‘The comparison is crazy,’ Rebecca, also mother to Rayven, nine, and Rexander, six, said. 

She said it is also an extra cost if you need any care outside of 9-5, for example to allow for commuting from work to nursery for pick ups and drop offs. 

‘Not every nursery is the same, but at mine you have to supply them with nappies and the wet wipes yourself. So the cost is just for the place itself. You pay extra for the meal and for the crayons and paper they are going to play with. So it’s £60 (a week) plus…plus. That’s my reality.’

Rebecca, who has her own business, says she also has to claim Universal Credit to make ends meet for her family of five amid the cost of living crisis, despite the fact her 55-year-old husband Matthew also works full time as a copy editor. 

And until your child is three, there is no help from the government, Rebecca, says. 

Mother-of-three Rebecca Leppard, 39, pictured with her daughter River, three - whose monthly nursery bill is just £50 less than their monthly rent

Mother-of-three Rebecca Leppard, 39, pictured with her daughter River, three - whose monthly nursery bill is just £50 less than their monthly rent

Mother-of-three Rebecca Leppard, 39, pictured with her daughter River, three – whose monthly nursery bill is just £50 less than their monthly rent

‘My daughter is now three years old so she will be entitled to have some free hours from the government in January 2023. 

‘But she’s been in nursery since she was two. So all in all, it feels like funding someone in university.’

She added: ‘The way I make it work is by slashing all other costs. In winter there will be many, many hours where we don’t put the heating on. We count literally every penny. 

‘It gives you a strain on your mental health, and in the relationships – the parent/child relationship and partner relationship. Yes, we struggle.’

‘Our household is rent, utilities and nursery – it’s choking us really.’ 

Rebecca, who is the founder of Upgrading Women, a provider for women in tech, said she has seen childcare costs as the major reason why women are out of the workforce ‘and the fact that women make up only 26 per cent in the tech sector.’ 

Rebecca Leppard pictured with her husband Matthew and their children River, three, Rayven, nine, and Rexander, six

Rebecca Leppard pictured with her husband Matthew and their children River, three, Rayven, nine, and Rexander, six

Rebecca Leppard pictured with her husband Matthew and their children River, three, Rayven, nine, and Rexander, six

Megan Jarvie, Head of Coram Family and Childcare, told MailOnline parents are being ‘locked out of work’ due to rising costs of childcare. 

‘Parents have been struggling with high – and rising – childcare costs for many years, meaning many are locked out of work or struggle to make ends meet,’ she said. 

‘At the time when family budgets are under more pressure, the cost of childcare is making it near impossible for families to increase their income by working more.

‘High quality childcare is key social infrastructure, it helps parents work and narrows the gap between poorer children and their more affluent peers. 

‘We urge the Government to make sure that childcare and children’s life chances are at the very heart of their plans to support families through the cost-of-living crisis.’

MailOnline has analysed data from Coram Family and Childcare - this shows how much childcare costs for under 2s in nursery have risen

MailOnline has analysed data from Coram Family and Childcare - this shows how much childcare costs for under 2s in nursery have risen

MailOnline has analysed data from Coram Family and Childcare – this shows how much childcare costs for under 2s in nursery have risen

Take home pay versus nursery costs 

Business in the Community (BITC)  currently works in a number of areas including Rochdale, Bradford, Coventry, Norwich, Sheffield, Newport and Blackpool.

It has compared the take home pay versus the nursery costs in some of the areas they cover. 

• In Bradford, the median weekly take-home pay is £386, with full-time nursery costing £242 a week or 63% of one parent’s weekly take-home pay,

• In Coventry, the median weekly take-home pay is £412, with full-time nursery costing £267 a week or 65% of one parent’s take-home pay.

• In Sheffield, the median weekly take-home pay is £404, with full-time nursery costing £242 a week or 60% of one parent’s weekly take-home pay.

• In Newport, the median weekly take-home pay is £396, with full-time nursery costing £247 a week or 62% of one parent’s weekly take-home pay.

• In Blackpool, the median weekly take-home pay is £344, with full-time nursery costing £238 a week or 69% of one parent’s weekly take-home pay.

• In Norwich, the median weekly take-home pay is £408, with full-time nursery costing £304 a week or 74% of one parent’s weekly take-home pay.

A spokeswoman for Employers For Childcare spoke of childcare as a critical part of economic infrastructure and called for strategic investment to support families as well as the childcare sector ‘so they can be sustainable in the longer-term and continue to deliver the high quality service families rely on and which benefits children so greatly.’

‘It is the failure to adequately invest in our childcare infrastructure that is the greatest issue holding back labour market participation and must be addressed to deliver economic growth and stability,’ she told MailOnline. 

‘This is relevant to everyone, whether they have children or not – if parents can’t get to work because they can’t access or afford the childcare they need, that’s an issue for society as a whole.

‘Childcare providers are also facing a major cost of doing business crisis – with their costs rising and with staff costs set to increase further from April. 

‘This is being reflected in fee increases for parents, which many can’t afford, and we are seeing childcare providers going out of business, or having no choice but to leave the sector.

‘We need to see much greater investment in our childcare infrastructure, to significantly reduce the cost to parents, while maintaining high quality, and supporting enhanced pay, terms and conditions for staff – that properly values those working in this critical sector. 

‘We also need to see the removal of the caps on existing financial support through schemes like Tax-Free Childcare and Universal Credit, which have not increased in line with rising childcare costs.’

The charity Employers for Childcare say they want to see existing financial support extended immediately to cover the full amount of a family’s eligible registered childcare costs, otherwise we will see more families unable to afford the childcare they need. 

This will put further pressure on them, on the childcare sector and on our economy as a whole – at a time when, as a society, we simply cannot afford to do so, the charity argues. 

New analysis by Business in the Community (BITC) has also found that in England, Scotland and Wales, full-time nursery for children under the age of two is costing some parents more than half of one person’s weekly take-home pay. 

Katy Neep, Gender Director at Business in the Community, said the percentage of take-home pay parents have to spend on childcare should be a wake-up call. 

‘While most families do receive some financial support from government, everyone’s situation is different, and some parents may have to fork out half their weekly pay just so that they can go to work. 

‘Childcare costs on top of rising household bills are putting working parents, particularly women in a very difficult position. Many working women are having to decide whether working is even worth it when they look at what’s left in their bank accounts after paying for childcare.

‘It is a sad but startling fact that women are being priced out of employment with reports showing that the number of women not working to look after family has risen five per cent in the past year.’

She described it as a ‘crisis of access and affordability’. 


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