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Average cost of holiday childcare hits £145 a week

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The cost of holiday childcare in the UK is now £145 a week on average, a 5 per cent rise since 2019.

That’s according to Coram Family and Childcare’s 16th annual survey, which revealed parents may struggle to find the childcare they need this summer.

Only a third of English local authorities have enough holiday childcare available for parents in their area who work full time, the survey revealed.

A third of all local authorities in the UK have reported a decrease in the number of holiday childcare places available, potentially as a result of the pressures on the sector from Covid-19.

This echoes recent research by the TUC which found nearly two-thirds of working mothers do not have enough childcare for the school summer holidays.

The survey revealed a ‘postcode lottery’ when it comes to holiday childcare costs.

Parents in the South West are paying up to 19 per cent more for childcare places than parents in the North West.

There are also extreme shortages in holiday childcare for disabled children, with only 16 per cent of local authorities in England reporting that they have enough.

Other notable gaps in England include holiday childcare for older children aged 12-14 and children living in rural areas with only 13 per cent and 12 per cent of local authorities respectively reporting they have enough childcare availability.

Megan Jarvie, head of Coram Family and Childcare, said: “As the country plans to rebuild from the pandemic, it is vital that children and young people are placed at the centre of this recovery.

“Holiday childcare will be crucial for giving children a safe and fun space to catch-up on lost learning and connect with peers – but this year more than ever parents are likely to struggle to find the childcare they need to be able to keep working and for their children to have fun and stay safe.

“Rising costs and falling availability means that they are facing a double squeeze as they search for childcare they can afford that meets their needs.”

What can parents do?

Parents can apply for a Tax-Free Childcare account where they can save throughout the year, reducing the rising cost of childcare and putting money aside for the holidays.

Tax-Free Childcare is a childcare top-up for working parents and can be used to help pay for accredited holiday clubs, childminders or sports activities. For every £8 deposited into an account, families will receive an additional £2 in government top-up, capped at £500 every three months, or £1,000 if the child is disabled.

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