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Low-paid parents earn £1.96 an hour after childcare costs

Low-paid full-time workers can spend up to 45% of their disposable income on childcare

Parents on the minimum wage may be taking home as little as £1.96 per hour once they've paid for childcare, according to research from the Family and Childcare Trust.

Its Childcare Survey 2017 found that on average the price of 25 hours of childcare per week for a child under two is £116 for a nursery place, or £110 for a childminder. Parents of primary school-age children were found to be paying an average of £53 a week for an after-school club, or £67 for pick-up and afternoon care by a childminder.

The research found that families working full-time paying average childcare costs can spend up to 45% of their disposable income on childcare. Low and middle income parents of pre-school children claiming Universal Credit can take home just £1.96 an hour once they've paid for childcare.

Chief executive of the Young Women’s Trust Carole Easton warned that women are being shut out of work by childcare costs. “Young women are telling us that they want to work but a lack of affordable and convenient childcare prevents that,” she said.

“It is shocking that some parents take home as little as £1.96 an hour for their work after paying for childcare. Parents are spending twice as much on nurseries and childminders as they are on food and drink and, in some cases, they have no money left after paying for care. Ensuring parents have access to quality childcare would benefit families, businesses and the economy.”

Ellen Broome, deputy chief executive at the Family and Childcare Trust, described affordable childcare as “vital” in allowing the country to run.

“It is a disgrace that so many parents are effectively shut out of the workplace by crippling childcare costs,” she said. “Recent governments have rightfully invested 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 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 childcare. The government must closely monitor the rollout of the 30-hour offer and tax-free childcare, to make sure that all children can access high-quality childcare and all parents can make choices about how they work and care for their children.”