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Scottish parents now pay an average of £111 per week, or almost £5,800 per year, for just a part time nursery place, according to new research from Coram Family and Childcare. This is lower than the British average of £127 per week.

The Childcare Survey 2019 – the 19th annual survey – finds prices have risen by 2 per cent in the last year.

Even if they can afford it, many parents may struggle to find the childcare they need. While the vast majority of local areas have enough places for the funded early learning and childcare entitlement for two, three and four years olds, they did not have the information about other childcare for working parents. Only one in six Scottish local authorities reported that they had enough childcare right across the local area for parents working full time.

Other findings on Scottish childcare prices include:

  • A part time place with a childminder for a child under two costs an average of £105 per week 
  • A part time place in nursery for a three or four year old costs an average of £44 – this is considerably lower than for younger children because all three and four year olds are entitled to 600 hours per year of funded childcare
  • Five days a week in an after school club costs an average of £54 per week 

Most parents will be able to get some support with paying for their childcare, including through new investment currently being introduced. While many families welcome this support with childcare costs, others may be missing out on the help that’s available because the system is so complex. 

Some Government support has failed to keep up with childcare price inflation: in 94 per cent of local authorities across Britain, a full time nursery place for a child under two is now more expensive than the maximum costs supported under Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit. Families in these areas will find that they may end up worse off working, or working more hours. 

Megan Jarvie, Head of Coram Family and Childcare, said:

“Childcare is every bit as vital as schools, healthcare or transport: it supports parents to work, provides our economy with a reliable workforce and boosts children’s outcomes. But too many parents remain locked out of work by high childcare costs and low availability, and too many children miss out on high quality childcare, and the benefits to their life-chances that come with it.

“Recent Government investment is welcome, but for many parents, making work pay is still an uphill struggle. The Government needs to streamline the current maze of childcare support schemes so that families can understand what they are entitled to and access the childcare they need. We need 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 Coram Family and Childcare’s call for ambitious childcare reform, the Childcare Survey 2019 sets out several short term actions Government can take to make it easier for parents to find and afford childcare:     

  • 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 switch to upfront payments so that parents can afford to move into work.
  • Provide start up grants and responsive funding for childcare providers to increase the availability of childcare places. 
  • Consider how current spend on childcare could be reallocated to better meet the needs of disadvantaged and low income children, including current underspend of the Tax Free Childcare budget.


Contact: Megan Jarvie, telephone: 020 7239 7536, mobile: 07538 334 722, email: or

Notes to Editor:

  1. Full details on childcare prices are available in the Childcare Survey 2019. Childcare prices per week for part time childcare (25 hours) in England, Wales and Scotland.
  1. Parents can get support with their childcare costs throughout Britain through Working Tax Credits, Universal Credit, Childcare Vouchers and Tax Free Childcare. England, Scotland and Wales also each have several different schemes offering free childcare to some two, three and four year olds. See the full report for further information.
  2. All three and four year olds in Scotland are currently entitled to 600 hours per year of funded early learning and childcare. By 2020, this will be increased to 1140 hours. This extended entitlement is currently being piloted in some areas of Scotland.
  3. Unlike in England and Wales, Scottish local authorities do not have duty to gather information on local sufficiency of childcare.

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.

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