Cost of child­care up by £33 a week since 2010 Labour claims fig­ure dis­suades par­ents from returning to work

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Jonathan Walker Po­lit­i­cal Edi­tor

THE cost of child­care has risen by as much as £33 a week in the West Mid­lands since 2010, ac­cord­ing to new analysis by Labour.

It means costs have risen by 45 per cent, while wages have in­creased by just 16 per cent in the same pe­riod.

Labour said it means par­ents are get­ting less ben­e­fit from returning to work, and in some cases they find the cost of child­care is ac­tu­ally higher than the ad­di­tional in­come they re­ceive. The Govern­ment said it was cut­ting the cost with the in­tro­duc­tion of 30 hours of free child­care for work­ing par­ents of three and fouryear-olds. The fig­ures show: Nurs­ery care for chil­dren aged un­der two has risen from £77 to £108.52;

Nurs­ery care for chil­dren aged two and over has risen from £73 to £106.41;

Child­mind­ing for chil­dren un­der two has risen from £71 to £98.72;

Child­mind­ing for chil­dren aged two and over has risen from £69 to £97.09.

The analysis was based on sta­tis­tics from the Fam­ily and Child­care Trust, an in­de­pen­dent char­ity, and it shows aver­age costs per week in the West Mid­lands in cash terms.

Shadow ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary An­gela Rayner said: “The cost of child­care has sky­rock­eted un­der this Tory Govern­ment, show­ing they are fail­ing to de­liver af­ford­able, sus­tain­able child­care for fam­i­lies across the coun­try. At the same time wages have stag­nated and risen at half the rate of child­care costs, mak­ing it harder for work­ing fam­i­lies to make ends meet.”

The Govern­ment pro­vides 30 hours a week of free child­care for chil­dren aged three and four whose par­ents are in work as part of a flag­ship Tory scheme. Chil­dren aged two also re­ceive 15 hours of free care if their par­ents re­ceive cer­tain low­in­come ben­e­fits.

And the govern­ment is in­tro­duc­ing a tax free child­care scheme. For el­i­gi­ble work­ing fam­i­lies, it will of­fer to cover 20 per cent of child­care costs, up to a max­i­mum value of £2,000 per child per year, for chil­dren un­der the age of 12 (or up to £4,000 per year for chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties un­der the age of 17). This re­places a scheme called Em­ploy­erSup­ported Child­care, but Min­is­ters say the new pol­icy is more gen­er­ous and will help more fam­i­lies.

In 2019/20 the Govern­ment will spend around £6 bil­lion on child­care sup­port, a record amount.

A De­part­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion spokesper­son said: “Our child­care of­fer saves el­i­gi­ble work­ing fam­i­lies around £5,000 per child, per year.

“We are spend­ing more on child­care than any other govern­ment – £6 bil­lion a year by 2020. This in­cludes an ad­di­tional £1 bil­lion a year to de­liver the 30 hours com­mit­ment and to in­crease the fund­ing rates for lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to pass on to child­care providers.”

> Nurs­ery care for chil­dren un­der two has risen from £77 to £108 in the West Mid­lands, based on statis­tics from the Fam­ily and Child­care Trust

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