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Working parents facing holiday childcare bill of up to £800 – more than double the cost of term time childcare

Holiday childcare prices have risen by 3% in Britain since last summer, bringing the average parents now pay for one week of holiday childcare to £138 – more than double the price parents pay for after-school clubs during term time.

Published today, Coram Family and Childcare’s 15th annual Holiday Childcare Survey, the country’s most comprehensive survey of holiday childcare costs, reveals that working parents will have to find £828 on average for six weeks of holiday childcare per child. This means families have to find an extra £484 to cover the summer holidays compared to term time childcare.

This can be a huge financial pressure for low income families who rely on Universal Credit to help with their childcare costs, as this support is paid in arrears meaning they have to find the money to cover these higher costs up front, pushing many into debt.

Parents also face a ‘postcode lottery’ with huge variation in the costs of holiday childcare across the country. Holiday childcare costs are highest in the South East, at an average of £162 per week per child, 37% higher than the North West, where childcare costs are lowest, at £119 per week. There are large differences even between neighbouring regions - for example holiday childcare costs are 21% higher in the North East (£144) compared to the North West (£119).

In addition to rising costs, the survey also highlights the substantial gaps in the availability of holiday childcare, as only one in three (31%) local authorities in England reports having enough holiday childcare for all parents in their area who work full time. This gap is even bigger for parents of children with disabilities, with less than a fifth (17%) of local authorities able to provide enough holiday childcare to meet their needs.

Coram Family and Childcare is calling for urgent Government reform on school age childcare to address the acute shortages and improve existing support for families. The Government introduced a ‘right to request’ policy in 2016 which allows parents to request that their child’s school provides childcare or opens up their facilities for another provider to do so. However, today’s research reveals that just 4% of local authorities say this policy has had a positive effect on the availability of holiday childcare – a figure that remains unchanged since last summer.

Megan Jarvie, Head of Coram Family and Childcare, said: “Working families are being left with few options this summer. The high price and low availability of childcare means that many struggle to stay in work, or can end up paying to work. Families need to see urgent action to fill the gaps in availability and financial support.” 


For further information, images and interviews please contact: Emma Lamberton, Communications Manager at Coram at / 0207 520 0427 / 07908 827908.

Notes to Editors

• The Holiday Childcare Survey is based on surveys sent to all Family Information Services at local authorities in April 2019 and Freedom of Information requests. 96% of local authorities responded. Full methodology can be found in the report.
• Coram Family and Childcare’s annual Childcare Survey and Holiday Childcare Survey are the definitive reports on childcare costs and availability in the UK. 
• Full regional breakdown of costs and change since 2018 (weighted):


  •  Proportion of local authorities with enough childcare to meet demand in 2019 and 2018 (a full regional breakdown is available in the report):

About Coram Family and Childcare

Coram Family and Childcare works to make the UK a better place for families by bringing together what we learn from our on the ground parent-led programmes and our research to campaign for solutions that parents want and need. We focus on childcare and early years to make a difference to families’ lives now and in the long term. Before August 2018, we were known as the Family and Childcare Trust. For more information, please visit
About Coram

Coram is the UK’s oldest children’s charity, supporting children to have the best possible chance in life since 1739. We support children and young people from their earliest days to independence, creating a change that lasts a lifetime. We help build their confidence; we help them to develop skills; we uphold their rights, we support practitioners in the areas of fostering and adoption and we find loving adoptive families for the most vulnerable children. For more information, please visit