You are here: News Plateauing childcare prices spare Scottish parents from Britain wide price surge

Scottish parents are offered some relief by a two per cent drop in childcare prices this year, bringing the average price for a part time nursery place for a child under two to £110 per week, or £5,700 per year. Costs for a childminder in Scotland are slightly higher at £114 per week for a part time place for a child under two, or just under £6,000 per year.

In comparison, childcare prices have surged by seven per cent across Britain, the Family and Childcare Trust’s 17th annual Childcare Survey reveals.

The availability of childcare in Scotland has remained steady: 62 per cent of local areas have enough childcare places for the free two year old entitlement and 86 per cent have enough childcare places for the free three and four year old entitlement - far above the 67 per cent of local areas in England that have enough childcare places for the equivalent entitlement.

But, shortages in childcare availability remain an issue for many parents: just one in ten local areas have enough childcare places for parents working full time, one in four have enough childcare places for children under two and not a single local area has enough childcare for parents working outside of typical office hours.

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

“Childcare is an excellent investment – it supports parents to work, boosts children’s outcomes and provides employers with a reliable workforce. While this year’s steady prices give parents a moment to catch their breath, the price surge in England and Wales shows that relief can be short lived without adequate investment and planning from Government.

“Too many parents remain locked out of work by high childcare costs and low availability. We are calling on the Government to streamline the current hotchpotch of childcare support into a simple and responsive childcare system that makes sure every parent is better off working and childcare quality is high enough to boost children’s outcomes throughout life.”

Alongside the Family and Childcare Trust’s call for ambitious childcare reform, the Childcare Survey 2018 has set out several short term actions the Government can take to support parents to work:     

  • Provide start up grants and responsive funding for childcare providers so that they can meet the needs of disabled children to increase the availability of childcare places.
  • Increase the maximum amount of childcare costs that are supported by universal credit in order to make sure parents are better off for every extra hour worked, and move to upfront payments so that parents can move into work.
  • Monitor whether tax free childcare is causing prices to rise and if the new funding – tax free childcare and free childcare extensions – is helping parents into work and narrowing the achievement gap.


Contact: Mark Bou Mansour, Communications and Campaigns Manager, Family and Childcare Trust, telephone: 020 7940 7535, mobile: 07538 334 772,

Notes to Editor:

  1. Childcare prices in England, Wales and Scotland:
  1. ​For full figures on childcare sufficiency in Scotland, please see report attached.
  2. Two year olds from families claiming certain benefits, or who are supported by the local authority, are entitled to 600 hours of free childcare a year.
  3. All three and four years are entitled to 600 hours of free childcare a year – this equates to 12.5 hours a week over 48 weeks. By 2020, all three and four year olds will be entitled to 1140 hours a year.
  4. The tax free childcare scheme pays £2 for every £8 parents pay for childcare, up to a maximum of £2000 per child per year. The scheme gradually rolled out from 2017 to February 2018, made available first to working parents with young children before becoming available to working parents with children under 12 years old.

About the Family and Childcare Trust

The Family and Childcare Trust 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.

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