Childcare costs surge – with extra rises on the way
- Credit: PA
Parents in the region have seen their annual childcare bills soar by more than £1,000 since 2010 – and further rises could be on the way.
New figures show Suffolk parents have seen a 54pc surge in childminding costs, while in Norfolk there has been a 23pc rise.
Labour shadow education spokesman Jenny Chapman said parents were being let down by the soaring costs, and families up and down the country were struggling.
The new figures – obtained by the Labour Party under Freedom of Information – show that in the average cost of employing a childminder in Suffolk has increased from £64.32 to £98.75 for 25 hours – a 54pc increase.
In Norfolk the average cost of leaving a child with a childminder for 25 hours has increased from £76 to £93.19 – a £893.88 increase over the course of a year. But a government spokesman said investment in childcare was at record levels and it was spending £6bn by 2020 to ensure more families than ever before have help with their childcare needs.
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'Our recent parent survey showed the overall costs had stabilised for the first time in over a decade.
'But there is more to be done, which is why in the budget last month we announced further funding to expand the number of breakfast clubs and give a quarter of secondary schools increased opportunity to extend their school day.
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'We're also increasing funding by £300m per year to support nurseries to deliver more free places for parents.'
But Labour says the Conservative manifesto promise of 30 free hours of childcare a week to 630,000 three; and four-year-olds is in trouble.
The National Audit Office says the plan will only help 390,000 children, and Labour say the whole scheme is under-funded by £500m.
Ms Chapman said: 'We think that the reason for this uplift is around availability and that supply and demand has led to this extortionate increase. At the last election there was this big auction around childcare.
'Every political party was making the best offer it possibly could because we realise what a huge concern it is to parents.'
Comment – Page 24
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