The Cost of Childcare – a regional view

For most parents who wish to return to work or study after the birth of their children, childcare and its cost are one of the primary concerns in raising a child. But with the huge costs in childcare, stagnant wages and increased inflation, more and more parents are struggling to cope. Student Parents looked at an extensive survey conducted by Daycare Trust to find out about the cost of childcare in your region for 2012.

The background to the survey

Childcare is one of the large investments many parents will have to consider for their children. In 1998 the National Childcare Strategy committed the Government to increasing the availability and affordability of childcare. There have since been a number of initiatives that have improved the situation with regards to childcare for parents. In the current infrastructure parents care subsidise their childcare costs through the Working Tax Credit (WTC) that can be used in children’s centres across Britain. Children in England, Wales and Scotland are also entitled to free part-time education for three to four-year olds. The Childcare Act of 2006 requires local authorities in England and Wales to ensure there is sufficient childcare for working parents and those in training or education. Due to these changes in the last two decades there are now more available and affordable childcare options available. However, the recent public spending cuts have meant that the amount parents can claim to cover childcare costs has fallen from 80% to 70% in April 2011 meaning a loss of £10.47 per week,£544 per year in funds towards childcare. This combined with the cuts to Family Information Services and Sure Start Funding means 2012 could be a tight year for some families regarding childcare. The Daycare Trust conduct an annual survey of local authorities in order to build a comprehensive list of childcare costs across the country. They received 160 responses for the 2012 survey, a 77% response rate overall.

The Survey

Have a click on the map to have a look at average prices for childcare per 25 hours in your area.


  • The average costs can now exceed £100 for 25 hours care in many of Britain’s region.
  • The most expensive areas for pre-school childcare are London and the South East averaging £130 for 25 hours childminder care.
  • Average expenditure for parents is 25 hours care for 50 weeks of the year for children under 2 is £5,160

Nursery Under 2







Data can be found here

  • Average cost for child Under 2 is £102.05 with London and the South East England being the most expensive shortly followed by the South West.

Nursery 2 and Over






Data is found here

  • Average cost is £97.51 again with London coming out the most expensive. Least expensive is the West Midlands

Childminder Under 2






Data is here

  • Average childminder costs are generally cheaper than nursery costs averaging at £92.68
  • The North West came in as the least expensive for childminders under 2.

Childminder 2 and Over






Data can be seen here

  • Average cost of childminders for children age 2 or over was £91.97
  • Again, London and the South East come out as the most expensive

Out-of-school club






Data can be seen here

  • The average cost of out-of-school clubs is £45.53
  • Interestingly North East England is the most expensive for out-of-school clubs. This is likely due to London and the South East increased subsidy in out-of-school clubs by local authorities.

Where can you get help?

If these figures have raised concerns you have about affordable childcare there are options out there. Some employers offer childcare vouchers which can be as an additional benefit per salary or as a salary sacrifice. Childcare vouchers can also be saved up over time and can start to be collected from a child’s birth. Working Tax Credit also provides financial support to those on low incomes who work less than 16 hours per week. Extra help is available to working parents through the childcare element, helping fund 70% towards childcare funds. Up to 15 hours a week of free education is available to children aged between three and four in Britain which is delivered through nurseries and pre-school. This will be extended to the 20% most disadvantaged 2-year-old by 2013 and 40% of the most disadvantaged 2 year olds by 2014.

If you’re confused about how what childcare help is available to you have a look at the Parent Information section of the Daytrust website. Please check here for more details on the Daytrust surveys.


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