Nursery costs for under-twos up by 33 per cent over this Parliament

The cost of a part-time nursery place for a child under two has increased by an inflation-busting 33 per cent over the course of this Parliament, according to new research by the Family and Childcare Trust.

In its 14th annual childcare costs survey, the charity also reveals that the same nursery place has for the first time broken through the £6,000-a-year barrier, averaging at £115.45 a week across Britain. This represents a rise of 5.1 per cent in just one year.

Parents in the East Midlands have seen the steepest rises, with part-time nursery care for the under-twos costing an average of £118.82 a week, a 26 per cent increase since 2014.

And this year, for the first time outside of London, some of the very lowest income parents who claim help with childcare costs through Working Tax Credits will find the maximum amount they can claim – £175 a week – will not cover even their part-time childcare costs, and could leave them out of pocket by a minimum of £52.50 a week.

Stephen Dunmore, chief executive at the Family and Childcare Trust said: “During this Parliament we have welcomed extra support for parents through the new tax free voucher scheme and a commitment to raise the amount of childcare support in Universal Credit.

“But, if childcare costs continue to rise at this pace, the benefits of this new financial support to parents will be quickly eroded within the next Parliament.

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

Julian Foster, Managing Director at Computershare Voucher Services, who sponsor the annual childcare costs survey, said:

“Childcare costs are a major barrier to work for far too many parents.

“Employers could do more to help parents by making flexible working opportunities a reality for employees at all levels. There is still time for employers to set up their own childcare voucher scheme to help parents with childcare costs before the government’s tax-free voucher scheme is rolled out later this year, especially as many families won't be eligible for the new scheme."

As well as an independent review of childcare, the Family and Childcare Trust is calling on any incoming government in the next Parliament to:

  • Merge Universal Credit support for childcare with the tax-free childcare scheme to create a single and fair system.
  • Extend free early education to cover all two year olds and for 48 weeks of the year for all two, three and four year olds.
  • Make early education and childcare a legal entitlement for parents, bringing it in line with a right to a school place.
  • Overhaul the free early education funding formula for three and four year olds to make it more responsive to social factors.


Contact: Rebecca Griffin, telephone 0207 940 7533, email:


  1. The Family and Childcare Trust’s annual childcare costs survey also found:
  • All childcare for under-fives has risen by at least 27 per cent in the last Parliament.
  • The average cost of part-time care from a childminder has risen by 4.3 per cent in one year, and now costs £104.06 per week or £5,411 a year.
  • Parents who get help with childcare costs through the childcare element of Working Tax Credit – currently set at 70 per cent of the maximum £175 a week – will now be out of pocket by a minimum of £52.50 per week, even for part-time childcare, in several local authority areas. There are five local authorities in London where the average cost of a part-time childminder exceeded £175 a week, and 11 (eight in London and three in other English regions) where a part-time nursery place costs more than £175 a week.
  • Just 43 per cent of councils in England have enough childcare to meet the needs of working parents, down from 54 per cent in 2014.
  • Gaps in provision for disabled children have got bigger, with only 21 per cent of English local authorities and seven per cent in Wales having enough childcare for this group of children, compared with 28 per cent in England and 18 per cent in Wales in 2014.
  • The most expensive nursery in Britain was found in London, where parents of an under-two year old would pay £494.22 every week for part-time childcare.
  1. Part-time childcare is calculated at 25 hours a week.
  2. The Childcare Act 2006 requires local authorities in England and Wales to make sure there is sufficient childcare for working parents.


In November 2014 a survey was sent to all local authority Family Information Services in England and Wales, and Children’s Information Services in Scotland.

This requested information about the average costs of 25 hours and 50 hours of childcare a week, provided by Ofsted registered nurseries and childminders. We also asked for average prices of after-school clubs and childcare after-school pick-up, both based on 15 hours a week.

We also asked local authorities to draw on their most recent childcare sufficiency data and report if they had enough childcare for disabled children; working parents; parents in rural areas and parents with atypical work patterns.

Of the 206 local authorities in Britain, we received responses from 196, giving an overall response rate of 95 per cent and a minimum response rate of 90 per cent in all regions and nations of the UK.

About the Family and Childcare Trust

The Family and Childcare Trust works to make the UK a better place for families. Our vision is of a society where government, business and communities do all they can to support every family to thrive. Through our research, campaigning and practical support we are creating a more family friendly UK.

The Family and Childcare Trust’s annual childcare costs survey is the definitive report on childcare costs and sufficiency in the UK and its data are used by the Department for Education and OECD.

For further information, please go to

About Computershare Voucher Services (CVS)

Computershare Voucher Services (CVS) is the UK’s largest dedicated childcare voucher provider, responsible for the administration, management and development of childcare vouchers, an employee benefit available to all eligible working parents. CVS currently works with over 130,000 working parents, more than 16,000 organisations and over 115,000 carers each month.  CVS has vast experience of the childcare vouchers industry, reinforced by significant technology enhancements which benefit its diverse customer base, spanning every sector, from some of the UK’s largest corporations to SMEs.

CVS is a founding member of the Childcare Voucher Providers Association (CVPA) which represents childcare voucher providers and sets the benchmark for standards in the industry through its Code of Practice, to ensure carers, parents and employers receive the highest standard of service from childcare voucher providers.

In offering the childcare voucher services, we undertake to act in accordance with the CVPA Code of Practice which is available on the CVPA website at If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of any complaint made to us as regards Computershare’s compliance with the CVPA Code of Practice, please send your complaint to: Childcare Voucher Providers Association (CVPA), 105 St Peters Street, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL1 3EJ.

For more information visit:

About Community Playthings

A sound understanding of child development underpins Community Playthings’ product design. Manufactured in the UK, furniture and equipment supports children’s creativity, learning and play in schools and nurseries across the private, voluntary and public sectors.

In collaboration with leading educators and early years consultants, Community Playthings also publishes authoritative staff training resources. The most recent releases are The irresistible classroom and A good place to be Two.

Community Playthings has been creating child-friendly environments for over 50 years. For more information,