You are here: News Holiday childcare price hike and shortage increase double blow leaves parents on the ropes

Holiday childcare costs have risen by five per cent in England since last summer, bringing the average parents now pay for one week of holiday childcare to £125 – more than double what families spend on food and drink in a week.

The Family and Childcare Trust’s 16th annual Holiday Childcare Survey finds that the summer holiday comes with an average price tag of £748 for six weeks of holiday childcare per child. Prices vary across the country: in the North East costs have risen by 9 per cent to £133 for one week of holiday childcare, since last year, whereas in the East of England it costs £113 on average.

Rising costs are only half the picture: many parents will struggle to find childcare places as just one in four local authorities in England reported having enough holiday childcare for all parents working full time, dropping to one in eight for children with disabilities.

Fewer local authorities in England report having enough holiday childcare available compared to last summer: just 29 per cent of local authorities reported having enough holiday childcare for four to seven year olds, compared to 33 per cent in 2016.

The government introduced a new ‘right to request’ holiday childcare for parents from their children’s school in September 2016. But this policy is yet to achieve its potential: just four per cent of local authorities told us that this had had a positive effect on whether there is enough holiday childcare.

Ellen Broomé, Chief Executive at the Family and Childcare Trust, said:

“Once again rising holiday childcare costs and increasing shortages will leave parents struggling to keep their heads above water.

“Many working parents who cannot call on family and friends to provide informal childcare may struggle to make work pay or remain in work at all this summer.

“The Holiday Childcare Survey 2017 reveals the right to request has had little impact on the availability of childcare places for parents who need holiday childcare. Families need a Government strategy to make sure that every parent is better off working after they have paid for childcare, and that there is enough childcare for working parents throughout the year.”

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Contact: Mark Bou Mansour, Communications and Campaigns Manager. Telephone: 0207 940 7535, mobile: 07538 334 772, email:

Notes to Editor

  • In England, the average price of one week of full time holiday childcare is now £124.62, compared with £124.43 in Scotland and £117.62 in Wales. Full regional breakdown:
  • Only 24 per cent of local authorities in England reported having enough holiday childcare for all parents working full time. A full regional breakdown of childcare availability in Britain is available in the report.
  • The numbers of local authorities that do not know whether they have enough holiday childcare cannot be directly compared between 2017 and 2016. This is because the responses categories available for answering that question are different. In this survey, 53 per cent of local authorities responded either “data not collected” or “cannot tell” for one or more of the groups we asked about for the survey. In 2016, 27 per cent of local authorities responded “don’t know” for one or more of the groups

About the Family and Childcare Trust

The Family and Childcare Trust aims to make the UK a better place for families. We are a leading national family charity in the field of policy, research and advocacy on childcare and family issues, with over 40 years’ experience. Our on-the-ground work with parents and providers informs our research and campaigns. We focus on the early years and childcare because they are crucial to boosting children’s outcomes throughout life and supporting parents to work.