Childcare costs are rising so quickly that for most, it just does not pay to work. Costs have risen by 33% in the past five years, almost on par with property prices in central London.

The annual survey, carried out by the Family and Childcare Trust, found that on average in England, Scotland and Wales sending a child to nursery for 25 hours a week costs £115.45. Parents who employ child minders are also paying more. The average cost of £104.06 per week is up 4.3% on last year.

Mother-of-three Jennifer Lee said: “I’m a full time teacher and my partner’s a fireman. You’d expect with two decent salaries to be able to cope financially, but it is difficult.”

Amy Cooke said more than half her salary goes on paying for part-time childcare for her 15-month-old daughter Lilah.

If she has any more children or if nursery prices rise further she may have leave her job.

“I’d probably have to give up work and do it that way because my entire wage would go on childcare, so it wouldn’t be worth it.”

Stephen Dunmore, chief executive of the Family and Childcare Trust, has welcomed Government investment in childcare but says more needs to be done.

“In spite of several positive initiatives, including more funding for free early education, the childcare system in Britain needs radical reform,” he said.

“In the run-up to the General Election this May we want to see all political parties commit to an independent review of childcare. Britain needs a simple system that promotes quality, supports parents and delivers for children.”

The issue of childcare costs is likely to feature highly in the coming months, with politicians keen to use today’s report to score political points.

There are some that say ‘why have children if you can’t afford them’?


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It’s a heated debate – what are YOUR views? How do you manage and what advice would you give to new parents?