Nursery fees rise ahead of inflation

Increases in nursery fees have continued to race ahead of consumer price inflation, increasing the burden on working parents.

The yearly cost of a typical nursery place for a child under two is £8,368 in England, £7,384 in Wales and £7,332 in Scotland, according to a survey from the Daycare Trust.

In England, the weekly cost rose almost 5 per cent to £159, or more than one-third the average wage of £457. The rise was particularly fast in outer London, where the price soared 11 per cent to an average of £202 a week.

The figures do not include the help available from the government through tax credits, childcare vouchers and free nursery places when a child is three.

The news of high price increases follows research last week showing that salaries of nannies in central London have leapt to more than £30,000 a year after rising at their fastest pace in almost a decade.

The Trust notes that nursery fees have grown by an average of 5 per cent a year over the past six years. But the average cost of nurseries in inner London fell from £205 to £198 in the past year. The Trust said this might reflect heavy subsidies from local authorities.

Beverley Hughes, children’s minister, said: “We are doing more than ever before to make good quality childcare and early education accessible and affordable.” But the Daycare Trust said many families were not claiming childcare tax credits, largely because they were too complicated.

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