You are here: News Scottish families face rising childcare costs, with annual bill of almost £5,800

Scottish parents are paying 2% more for childcare for the under-twos than they were one year ago*, according to the country’s most comprehensive annual survey of childcare costs, published today. Coram Family and Childcare’s 20th annual Childcare Survey finds that parents in Scotland are now paying an average of £111.26 per week, or almost £5,800 per year, for a part-time nursery place.

Even where parents can afford childcare, some will struggle to find it. In Scotland, though the majority of childcare categories have shown an increase in availability between 2019 and 2020, only 27% of local authorities have enough childcare for parents working full-time – significantly lower than in England (56%). The survey also found a significant decrease in availability of childcare for disabled children in Scotland (4% in 2020 compared to 23% in 2019).

In September 2017 in England, free childcare was extended for three and four year olds with working parents to 30 hours per week during term time. Free childcare in Scotland will now also be extended to 1,140 hours per year (30 hours per week for 38 weeks per year) for all children, not just those with working parents. The entitlement will be available from August 2020. Local authorities are broadly optimistic about this extension, with over two-thirds (69%) of local authorities expecting it to have a positive impact on the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers.

Claire Harding, Head of Coram Family and Childcare, said: 


“Good childcare is essential: it enables parents to work and boosts children’s learning. But for far too many families in the UK, it just isn’t working. Recent government investment is welcome, but many families still face crippling costs, especially in the period from the end of parental leave to when a child turns three. There are seven different types of childcare support depending on families’ individual circumstances, and many parents find it difficult just to find out what’s available to them."

“Investing in childcare supports is good for us all because it helps parents to work now, and boosts children’s learning and skills for our future. We’re calling on Government to reform and simplify the childcare system so every parent is better off working after paying for childcare, and every child has access to childcare which supports their learning and development.”


The Childcare Survey 2020 sets out actions that Scottish, Welsh and UK governments can take to help parents find affordable childcare:

  • Reform Universal Credit so it doesn’t lock parents out of work: increasing the maximum amount of childcare costs paid under Universal Credit and moving to upfront payments for childcare
  • Regularly review the funding rate for free early years entitlements to make sure that they meet the cost of delivering high quality childcare
  • Double the early years pupil premium, to boost outcomes for the most disadvantaged children
  • Reallocate any underspend against the budget for Tax-Free Childcare to other parts of the childcare system – and focus this on the most disadvantaged children

The full report is available to read here.


For more information, comment and case studies, please contact Emma Lamberton, Communications Manager, Coram at / 0207 520 0427 / 07908 827908.

Notes to editors 

  • *In Scotland, 25 hours of nursery for a child under two costs 2% more than a year ago, and for a child aged two it costs 1% more
  • Coram Family and Childcare’s annual Childcare Survey and Holiday Childcare Survey are the definitive reports on childcare costs and availability in the UK  
  • This report is based on surveys from local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales, that were returned to Coram Family and Childcare between November 2019 and January 2020. A total of 175 local authorities returned data generating a response rate of 85%. Full methodology can be found 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:


Twitter: @CoramFamChild

Facebook: @famchildtrust


About Coram

Coram is the UK’s oldest children’s charity, supporting children to have the best possible chance in life since 1739. We work as a group of specialist organisations helping more than a million children, young people, families and professionals every year.

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.

We work in over 2,000 schools supporting nearly half a million children, run London’s largest Regional Adoption Agency and provide free legal advice for thousands of children and families who need it every year.

For more information, please visit:


Twitter: @Coram

Facebook: Coramsince1739


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