15/07/2003

Childcare charges rise over summer holidays

Families face a huge rise in the cost of summer holiday childcare, according to a new survey published today by the national childcare charity, Daycare Trust.

The typical weekly cost of a place for a child in a summer holiday play scheme is set to rise by 16%, according to the report. Currently, the typical cost for childcare is £67.70 a week (up from £58.46 in 2002), or more than £400 for the six week summer break.

The highest weekly cost of a summer holiday play scheme in the survey was £135 a week. This compares with average weekly household income of £550 and average weekly spending on food and housing combined of £77.60.

Despite significant investment in childcare, access to quality childcare over the summer in the UK continues to depend on how much families earn and where they live, says Daycare Trust.

The survey of Children’s Information Services shows that more summer holiday childcare is available than in 2002, but four out of 10 still say that parents report a lack of quality affordable summer holiday childcare in their area. Many schemes do not run for the full six weeks of the holiday, the report claims.

Stephen Burke, Director of Daycare Trust, said: “Every year many parents struggle to arrange and afford childcare for their children during the summer holidays while they are at work. This survey highlights the fact that summer holiday childcare remains well beyond the reach of many low-income families.

“We must help families balance work and family life during the long school holidays, and ensure that every family has access to quality affordable childcare during the summer period when they need it.

"Investing in childcare places and providing more help with costs through the tax credits are crucial."

(GMcG)

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