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School’s out for summer, but watch those childcare costs

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As the school holidays start, a report shows the high cost of childcare leaves parents turning to relatives and friends to help out.

Around one third of parents need additional childcare over the summer break. Less than three in 10 (28%) said that they found it easy to find childcare during the summer holidays last year.

The latest Parentdex from show 21% of parents rely on grandparents for childcare, ahead of nurseries and pre-schools (14%), with an average saving of over £1,200 every year. However, a fifth (20%) now pay grandparents for their troubles.

The average family with children under 13 spends £85.90 a week on children. This equates to a sixth of the average salary. Unsurprisingly, one in 10 said that childcare is their biggest monthly household expense after rent or mortgage payments. In London, costs are higher with the average child care bill coming in at £146.28 per week.

The costs of childcare take a toll on family finances, with 13% admitting to borrowing money from family members to cover childcare expenses. One in ten families polled said they were left with as little as £50 disposable income a month after covering household costs.

There are options for working families. Workplace subsidies such as childcare vouchers provide an option and the research showed that less than half of those who have the vouchers take advantage, despite the fact that almost six in 10 (59%) of those who do, admit that such support is ‘very helpful’. Parents may also want to consider taking flexi-time: Overall, half (50%) of employers who hire working parents offer flexible working, with almost two thirds (66%) of this proportion taking advantage of the scheme.

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