• Six weeks of summer holiday costs parents £732.00 per school-age child in childcare, new research reveals
  • Total cost of childcare for school-age children in England to hit £3.44 billion this summer, with new government contributions covering just £688.56 million of that
  • Parent-led childcare would give parents real control over their working and family lives

As schools break-up for six weeks of summer holidays, parents are faced with the impossible task of juggling work, childcare and all its associated costs.

And now, fresh research by the New Economics Foundation reveals the scale of the challenge parents face this summer.

According to the think-tank, parents in England are facing a £2.75bn childcare bill for the summer holidays. That’s based on the 4.7 million primary school-aged children in England costing £122.00 per week to be looked after [2].

Parents are faced with a choice between stumping up for childcare or taking a hit in lost wages or lost annual leave, with a knock-on effect on the wider economy.

Lucie Stephens, Head of Co-Production at the New Economics Foundation, said:

“This summer and every summer, parents face an impossible choice. Do they take a big financial hit to pay for childcare that doesn’t meet their, or their children’s needs, or are they forced to take time off work? This research reveals the full scale of that challenge.

Parents shouldn’t have to feel so helpless every summer. We need more affordable and better-quality care for our children, not just glorified babysitting. Parents should be able to work over the summer without taking an enormous financial hit or worrying about the quality of the care their children are receiving – if there is care available at all.

That’s why we need to support new and better ways of doing childcare. When parents have real control over the design and delivery of the care their children receive, it becomes more affordable and more suitable for their needs.

Childcare doesn’t currently suit the lives of many families. Parents often want to play an active role in their children’s care but are prevented from doing so by the failures of the system. So let’s give parents real control over childcare and watch the benefits accrue.

At the New Economics Foundation we are working with parent-led co-operative models of childcare like Childspace in Brockwell or Grasshoppers in the Park in Hackney, which combine decent pay and conditions for staff with real control and affordability for parents who contribute time and skills towards the delivery and management of the nursery.”[3]

47% of parents believe that in recent years it has become financially more difficult to raise a family. Many parents are now both working full-time in order to cover childcare and other associated costs.Of those using formal childcare, 32 per cent of parents were happy with the amount they used. 29 per cent said they would like to use less and spend more time with their children (a third of mothers and a quarter of fathers), and 17 per cent said they would like to use more but could not afford to. [4]

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** Spokespeople available for interview **

Notes to editors

1. The New Economics Foundation is the UK’s only people-powered think tank. The Foundation works to build a new economy where people really take control. www.neweconomics.org

2. The calculation is based on ONS, “Population Estimates for UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland: mid-2016” https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/bulletins/annualmidyearpopulationestimates/latest and the Family and Childcare Trust, “Holiday Childcare Survey, 2016” https://www.familyandchildcaretrust.org/holiday-childcare-survey-2016

3. In partnership with the Family and Childcare Trust

4. Source: Modern Families Index 2017 – https://www.workingfamilies.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Modern-Families-Index_Full-Report.pdf

5. For more on NEF’s work on parent-led childcare see http://neweconomics.org/search/?_sf_s=childcare