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Grannies to the rescue on childcare

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Families are increasingly turning to friends and family to minimise the prohibitive costs of childcare.

Over three and a half million grandparents look after children while parents are out at work, according to new research from Churchill Home Insurance. Almost half (48%) of childcare is carried out by friends and family, saving UK parents nearly £12,000 per year.

Nearly three quarters (72%) of parents with children under 15 get help with childcare. Less than a quarter (22%) of childcare is handled by childcare professionals.

If parents were to rely solely on professional childcare arrangements, childminders, live in nannies or nurseries, it would cost them on average £321 a week, working out as £16,692 every year. Using family and friends costs just £95 a week or £4,940 over the course of a year, saving parents £11,752.

On average parents use the services of other carers 21 hours and 41 minutes per week, spending an estimated £155 on childcare each week, equating to £7,192 each year per child.

Martin Scott, head of Churchill home insurance said: “The cost of childcare is something most parents worry about as it can be a huge proportion of their household income. It makes sense that parents look to family and friends not only to help ease the financial burden, but also to provide peace of mind that their children are being looked after by people they are close to and already have a relationship with.”

From September of this year, parents of three and four-year olds will be able to access up to 30 hours of government-funded childcare per week. Each parent will need to earn at least the equivalent of 16 hours per week working at the national minimum or living wage. The payment is capped for those earning over £100,000.

Finally, parents need to make sure granny is reading with them. A recent OECD report said that access to high-quality early childhood education and care was vital for long-term educational attainment. It said: “Evidence from PISA 2015 reveals that in almost all OECD countries, 15-year-olds who had access to early childhood education and care outperformed students who had not.”

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  • A M Lewis

    It’s misleading to say it’s capped at £100k. It’s actually twice as high! It’s capped at household income £200k as long as one parent doesn’t earn more than £100k. How can taxpayers afford to subsidise families as well off as this is a complete puzzle! They say more ‘austerity’ needed but then they expand childcare support just as they cut funding for statutory education in primary and secondary schools. Makes no sense. We all know the agenda on childcare is led by a determination that mothers return to paid employment – any paid employment – rather than taking care of the children. The same goes for fathers, although it’s mothers they’re particularly keen on moving away from ‘care’ roles in the name of so called ‘equality’. Point is care work IS already important /equal /valuable work – but the system treats it as inferior, thus taking all caregivers for granted and failing to support or ‘count’ the work of family care. If a mother moves into childcare work and takes care of other people’s children then it’s okay and it magically ‘counts’ again. It’s a strange world.

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