You are here: News Relief for Welsh parents as childcare prices drop – but not enough childcare available for working parents

Sighs of relief from Welsh parents’ following a 5 per cent drop in childcare prices are cut short by severe childcare shortages, according to new research by the Family and Childcare Trust. (1)

In its 16th annual Childcare Survey, the charity reveals that Welsh parents on average pay just over £100 per week for a part time nursery place for a child under two – or £5,300 per year. (2)(3) Prices in Wales are about £15 per week lower than the British average.

However, the survey also warns that Welsh parents are more likely to struggle to find the childcare they need. Less than 1 in 5 councils in Wales were confident that there was enough childcare in their area for parents working full time. This is a significant drop since 2016 when twice as many councils said there was enough childcare.

Parents who don’t work regular office hours or who have a disabled child will face the biggest challenges: no councils in Wales had enough childcare for these groups.

Ellen Broomé, deputy chief executive at the Family and Childcare Trust said: 

“It is a disgrace that so many parents are shut out of the workplace by crippling childcare costs. The Welsh Government is rightfully investing in childcare, but too many parents are still struggling to find and pay for the childcare they need.

“Childcare is as vital as the rails and roads for helping our country to run: it boosts children’s outcomes throughout life and helps parents work. We need a strategy to make sure that every parent is better off working after they have paid for their childcare costs.”

As well as a childcare strategy to meet children and parents’ needs, the Family and Childcare Trust is calling for UK and Welsh Governments to work together to: 

  • Make sure that every parent will be better off working after childcare costs
  • Review funding for free childcare entitlements every year based on evidence of the costs of providing high quality provision
  • Improve access to childcare for children with special educational needs and disabilities
  • Improve information for parents about local childcare provision, including up to date prices and availability


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


Notes to Editors

  1. Changes to nursery costs for under two:



Change to cost of 25h/week nursery for a child under two









2. Childcare costs in Wales, Scotland and England:



25 hours of care in a nursery

25 hours of care from a childminder

Care after-school for a child aged 5-11

For under 2s

For 2 year olds

For under 2s

For 2+ year olds


After-school club





























3. Percentage of local authorities in Wales with sufficient childcare in 2017 and 2016:





Under 2s



2 year olds entitled to the free offer



3 and 4 year olds entitled to the free offer



After school for age 5-11



After school for age 12-14



Disabled children



Parents in full time work



Parents working atypical hours



4. Average weekly household expenditure on rent in Wales for the financial year ending 2016 was £65.40. Family spending in the UK: financial year ending March 2016. Office for National Statistics. Link.



This report is based on surveys sent by the Family and Childcare Trust to all local authority Family Information Services in England, Scotland and Wales. It builds on similar reports carried out annually since 2001.

We sent surveys to Family Information Services in November 2016. Following the mid-December survey deadline, we sent Freedom of Information requests to local authorities which had not responded.

Full methodology can be found in the report.


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.