Why people want an overhaul of childcare costs in UK

Highlights

  • The UK has the highest childcare costs across the globe after Slovakia and Switzerland.
  • UK Parents are finding the costs unaffordable and are demanding for an overhaul of childcare costs.

According to latest OECD data, the UK has one of the highest childcare costs across the globe, just behind Slovakia and Switzerland, which is more expensive. Over a dozen organisations have conducted a survey which has disclosed that parents in the UK want a radical overhaul of childcare costs as they are distressed because of it. Surprisingly, the OECD data shows that Nordic countries are leading the way in state-subsidised childcare and provide some of the highest quality solutions for the same at the cheapest prices.

The OECD research points out that the Nordic countries are more generous in subsidising childcare as it is considered as an essential public service and thus these countries offer guaranteed access to childcare for all children aged one year or under. Slovenia, Estonia, and Germany also follow similar rules.

With an average payment equivalent to 9% of parental income, subsidised places are provided by Denmark for children from six months. For families that are less wealthy, the cost for full-time all-day provision would be relatively lesser as it is calculated based on income, but generally the cost would be approximately £450 per month. Around 60% of the staff is skilled and trained as early-years specialists.

In Finland, the day a parent returns to work, they are provided with universal day care from the state.  It has been rated by The Economist as the world’s third best country for working mothers. Additionally, a paternity leave of nine weeks after the birth of a child is offered to fathers, and in that time period they would get 70% of their salary. Costs are generally calculated based on income, but considering highest level of expenses, it costs approximately £248 (€290) per month. Choosing the suitable childcare is very important for parents and the state takes all initiative to help them, such as organising nannies and kindergarten places.

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Since the 1990s, full-time childcare has been highly subsidised in Iceland for all children aged two and above. The World Economic Forum has rated Iceland as the most gender-equal country across the globe tenth time in a row.

Moving away from Nordic countries, Germany has provided parents with a legal right to claim childcare from the state as soon as their child turns one. The maximum average cost for full-time childcare of children aged under six is approximately €580 per month, and the costs are usually based on income and region.

Childcare costs in UK

It is expensive for parents to pay for childcare, and the costs are dependent on the kind of services you need, the number of hours you need someone looking after your child, and where you live in the UK. As compared to 2020, the average cost of childcare has grown, and is usually the most in London.

For putting a child aged under two in a nursery part-time, i.e. for 25 hours a week, the average cost has increased from £6,800 in 2020 to £7,160 in 2021. Although, the average amount paid for a part-time childminder place in 2021 is around £6,150 per year, which is similar to the amount that was expected to be paid in 2020.

Average payments made by families sending their children to after school clubs for five days per week also went up from £60.99 to £62.13 per week. Due to higher staff ratios, childcare services are usually more expensive for children aged under two.

Bottomline

The inability to afford childcare is causing an outrage among UK parents and a radical overhaul is required to save the financially crippling childcare system of UK. The struggling population is expecting more childcare subsidies and support from the Boris Johnson government and the survey has sent a clear message for the same. 

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