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Childcare prices in Scotland have risen by an inflation busting 4.5 per cent in the last year, according to new research by the Family and Childcare Trust.(1)

In its 16th annual Childcare Survey, the charity reveals that Scottish parents pay an average of £111 per week for a part time nursery place for a child under two – or £5,800 per year. (2) (3)

Costs in Scotland are about £5 per week lower than the British average. But this will come as little reprieve to Scottish parents who are struggling with rising prices, compared to the rest of Britain where prices are staying steady in England and dropping in Wales.

Sky-rocketing childcare costs are made only more bitter for Scottish parents by shortages in childcare. Only one in four councils in Scotland were confident that there was enough childcare in their area for every parent that worked full time. The gaps are even bigger for parents who do not work regular office hours, where only one in nine councils said that there was enough care available. Unlike England, in Scotland councils do not have a duty to make sure there is enough childcare in the local area.

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 Scottish Government is rightfully investing in childcare, but too many parents are still struggling to find and pay for childcare that they and their children need.

“Childcare is as vital as the rails and roads for helping a 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 childcare.”

As well as a childcare strategy to meet children and parents’ needs, the Family and Childcare Trust is calling for UK and Scottish 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 Scotland, Wales 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. 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.