Tell us what you think about childcare costs?

(118 Posts)
KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 09-May-11 16:47:06

Save the Children and Daycare Trust are launching a huge consultation of parents across Britain, focusing on the challenges of finding affordable childcare in this country.

According to the latest OECD research, British childcare costs are amongst the highest in the world - only Switzerland and the US outrank us. It costs an average of £177 per week for a full time nursery position for a child under two in Britain - 28% of the average net-income for a two-earner household, and more than double the OECD average of 13%.

The two charities want to find out what impact, if any, the rising cost of childcare is having on families - they're particularly concerned that less wealthy families might find themselves priced out of work.

So, whether it be cutting back on household essentials, or finding it harder to find or keep a job, please do share your experiences with childcare costs here, and we'll pass them on to Save The Children and Daycare Trust. You can also take their online survey here.

emmajac Tue 09-Jul-13 06:16:26

A lot of people just completely insist on having these things known as “kids” and one of the huge things a parent has to give is child care during infancy and early childhood. It's not exactly affordable either, as child care expenses have been increasing away for a while.

SnuvsandtheirGloves Fri 13-May-11 20:41:18

I pay my Childminder £60 per day for one child (8.00am-5.30pm) not including food/nappies/wipes. Full time this equates to £1,300 pcm or >£15,000 per year. She looks after 3 children fulltime. I deduct she therefore earns a gross salary of >£45,000, working from home, still able to do the school run for her own primary age child and without childcare costs of her own.
She is very good at her job and I'm not saying she earns too much. However, consider jobs that earn an equivalent salary in the public sector:

Lower band (L6) deputy head/head-teacher

Band 8 Agenda for Change jobs in the Health Service: Advanced pharmacists, nurse & midwife consultants, Superintendent Radiographers (diagnostic/therapeutic), higher management, psychologists, senior therapists (divided into 4 bands - a, b, c, d), Senior Chief Clinical Physiologists

Hospital Doctor - Registrar 10 years post-graduate

amidaiwish Fri 13-May-11 11:50:44

tantrum, have you actually bothered to read this thread, at all? The overwhelming opinion is that childcarers are not paid too much, but paying out of taxed income is too much. Where or where does it say otherwise??

I don't have a problem with what childminders/nannies/nurseries charge as I understand it's a business, they have to cover their costs and make some profit. The problem I have is how unaffordable that is for a lot (most?) families.

I looked into childcare when I recently went for a job interview. I didn't go to the second interview because I had found out there was no way I could afford to do the job even if they offered me the top of their advertised salary range.

I have a 4yo and a 1yo. The 4yo is at (school) nursery for 15 hours a week. However, because of the pick up time I'd have to pay a full day rate for a childminder. Full day rate for 2 under 5's with a cm plus transport to work was more than the salary. Ironically it would have been cheaper for my parents to move down here and for us to pay their rent and bills than pay a childminder shock. It would also have solved the problem of taking time off when the kids are ill.

The other problem I had was the hours offered by childminders and nurseries. Almost all of them only offer care until 6pm. In particular of the ones near dd1's school who could pick her up, only one offered later care. She offered until 6.30pm EXCEPT on a Friday when she only worked until 4.30pm hmm. I doubt dh's boss would have been too pleased at him saying I'll have to leave an hour and half early every Friday. FWIW dh (like most people here) finishes work at 5.30pm in the city centre and can't get home until just after 6pm because of the train times. I really can't understand why a childminder wouldn't work around those times confused.

It may be possible financially when dd1 starts full time school BUT I'm still left with the problem of finding childcare that covers until one of us gets home. The after school club has a 6pm close too.

Needanewname Fri 13-May-11 09:52:27

Tantrum where has anyone said that they begrudge paying the chidcarer what they do?

Where has anyone said that chidcarers earn too much?

The common complaint is that childcare costs are probably the biggest outlay a family has to make each month (maybe 2nd to the mortgage but not in all cases). If you employ a nanny you have to pay a full gross salary out of a net salary earned.

In fact more people have said that childcareres don;t earn enough!

Tantrum I think reality checks are all too available every time parents paying for childcare look at their bank balances! The general consensus was not that childcare providers earn too much (clearly they don't - commercial ones struggle to make a profit, and childminding is hardly a lucrative profession for most) - but that there are next to no tax breaks or other state support (other than the far-from-universally-available £243/month salary sacrifice, which doesn't really touch the edges of most childcare bills) so that the money comes from already heavily taxed income and most households simply do not have £1000+ 'spare' per month.

Also - childminders are probably the least expensive option, and are not widely available. When I went back after DC2, I looked far and wide (15 mile radius) and could not find one (note - not couldn't find one I liked - I couldn't find anyone with any availability at all)

emy72 Fri 13-May-11 08:35:59

So Tantrum, given that you charge between £1200 and £1500 a month for 2 children under school age, you think that this is an amount that most people can comfortably afford out of their full time salary do you?

tantrum Fri 13-May-11 01:06:37

Well as a single parent Registered Childminder in Scotland with 2 kids of her own, aged 7 and 4 who charges £3.75 per hour per space regardless of child's age, this thread is interesting. A child who comes to me for 8 hours a day costs their parent £30 - does that sound a lot to you? My childminding service is open between 8am and 6pm - a 10 hour day - I could earn £37.50 per pre-school child for these hours before tax deductions. Given the ages of my own children I could have another 2 children under school age per day which if full time would be £75 per day and another 2 before and after school children (as per the rules in Scotland) which would be up to £30.

Maybe some of you need to take a reality check smile

bonkers20 Thu 12-May-11 12:53:08

I think thing don't change because it takes too darn long for change to happen, by which time you've moved on to consider the problems with the next phase of childhood (primary schools for example) and you're less likely to have the time and energy to fight for an issue which no longer affects you.

SnuvsandtheirGloves Thu 12-May-11 11:53:07

I am really glad to see this issue being highlighted by Mumsnet. I cannot understand why this is not a major political issue. The recent childcare trust report that showed the increasing costs of childcare was reported by the press but seemed to generate very little in the way of comment.

I hate to make this a feminist issue, as I know it is a problem the whole family must face, but in the vast majority of cases it is women who are priced out of work, women who give up promising careers and the longer term benefits of pensions and progression to higher earning positions.

As Starmucks has pointed out this problem affects women at nearly all salary levels. The 'childcare maths' for paying for full-time care for 2 children in London is terrifying.

I am in the position myself where I must decide whether to limit my family size to one child, or TTC a much wanted 2nd and either give up a promising professional career that I have worked for years to develop or work for a loss.

The government professes a wish to see more female directors of FTSE 500 companies, more female MPs, headteachers, partners in law firms, hospital consultants ...... and then does little to remove the obvious barrier to women's career progression that is the prohibitive cost of childcare.

In short, this sucks. Why are we not making more fuss?

Ripeberry Thu 12-May-11 10:33:17

The reason it does not work in the UK, is because childless people do not want to be taxed for other people's children. But they are not looking at the big picture.
It is an investment in the future of the country.

Esmethepuffin Thu 12-May-11 09:04:45

Such an important topic but a very poorly designed questionnaire. As has been mentioned by another poster, simply because you have good provision locally so haven't had problems finding childcare doesn't mean that you don't have other problems associated with the cost! Being directed straight to question 12 and not being allowed to describe those problems defines you as 'without any problems' - which isn't going to be the case for many people.

I have no problems getting good quality childcare for instance, but it costs a bomb and I am in overdraft every month because of it, but the questionnaire's design wouldn't allow me to register that. So I clicked out of it and my response at least has been lost. I wonder how many others did the same?

ibirthedmybrain Wed 11-May-11 16:22:20

I'm due to go back to work in September when DS1 will be 10 months and the thought of how much money I'll be earning after childcare makes me want to cry. I have a management job in local gov and will be changing to work 3 days a week, but after childcare costs, petrol and parking I'll be taking home about £15 a day. Unless I have a payslip which shows a certain amount coming in we won't be able to remortgage our flat as DH doesn't earn enough on his own. So in essence I will be working for a piece of paper. Fantastic! And the £15 will certainly be helpful in getting the bills paid, as we all know that the gas and electricity doesn't get any cheaper just because you have children. I don't want to be on benefits. We both work hard and have fairly good jobs, but you can't help but want some kind of financial help when you pay more in tax than you get to spend on your household.

Bouviergirl Wed 11-May-11 15:00:39

Was interested in this thread partly because of the reference in the headline to Switzerland being more expensive than the UK for childcare. We relocated to Switzerland three years ago for work purposes. We have two children in state provided nursery schools for three days each week (all day). They will take children from about 6 months - 4 years. Here, in state nurseries, parents pay strictly according to what they earn. So for us, with a net household income of approx £36k, we pay £200 a month for one child to spend 3 days at nursery each week. Drop off available from 6.30am and pick up by 6pm. It includes fantastic facilities and very high-quality childcare, lots of outdoor space, well-organised play, excellent food (more like a French restaurant than nursery food!) and so on. I presume they can keep fees low like this because it receives substantial funding from the state taxpayer. However, taxes are lower in Switzerland than in the UK! It all works brilliantly for parents. Obviously, the more/less you earn the more/less you would pay but this gives you a general idea. In London, with a child in a private nursery 5 days a week all day, we paid a flat £2000 per month and the standard wasn't nearly as good (no outdoor space etc in central London). I would like to see this system of fees being based on salary looked at for the UK, whether it could work or not. Anyway, it disproves that Switzerland is not always more expensive than the UK for childcare!

amidaiwish Wed 11-May-11 13:39:58

yes and that is why people prefer to get cheaper au pairs or pay nannies cash in hand. they can't afford it otherwise.
not saying it's right, but that's the reality. and all it does is undermine childcare as a profession.

jimswifein1964 Wed 11-May-11 13:29:38

Yep, I can see that, and agree its shit. Thats why we could never do anything like that. And why I'm resigned to never returning to a career but rather just having jobs.
£540 a week net tho; dh brings home about £1400 a month net unless he does o/t. Slightly less hours than the 6.45-6.30 of course, but then he spends between 3 and 4 hrs a day on the commute, wheras I'm assuming the nanny lives close or even in?

starmucks Wed 11-May-11 13:16:46

Yes, I agree it's a ridiculous position to be in. Our nanny is wonderful, she works long hours and I don't begrudge her a penny: her net salary is about £540 a week. Her day starts at 6.45am and ends at 6.30pm. What I am aggrieved about is paying employers NI at £360 a month. ARE YOU LISTENING GEORGE OSBORN? YOU are taxing smart women out of the work place.

Needanewname Wed 11-May-11 13:14:35

The thing is Jimwife, the nanny doesn;t earn 3k in her hand but that is the cost to her employer - tax, NI, employers NIC. Then theres holiday pay, sick cover and maternity pay if she gets pregnant.

I know there are lots of people desperate to come to the UK and work here starkadder but there will if we stop having children there will nto be enough people in the future to pay for eveything. We need children to be born and as I aslo said if childcare is subsidised that allows parents to go to work and pay their taxes.

NerfHerder Wed 11-May-11 11:45:10

My childcare costs are 6 times my mortgage costs. (2 children under 5)

I cannot possibly afford a nanny, but it seems ridiculous that anyone should have to pay someone's salary, tax and NI out of their aready taxed/NI'd income.

thaigreencurry Wed 11-May-11 11:37:12

Starmucks wow just goes to show how expensive it is to raise children when you can't afford to pay for childcare on £95k per annum! I remember my ex-boss suggesting that I employ a nanny as it would give me more flexiblity, I was earning less than £12k (3 day week) not sure what planet he was on. hmm

starmucks, amidaiwish - that is exactly the same sum we faced. Fortunately, so far, we have survived by co-ordinating so that we are not often starting early/ getting home late / away at the same time. When that fails, my parents step in and rescue us. Without them, a nanny would be the only option and I would effectively be working for ~£100 / month. As it is we exist on a complex and fragile jigsaw of after school care and holiday clubs which causes me ongoing stress but is more affordable.

SoloIsAHotCougar Wed 11-May-11 10:56:45

Yes, I see what you mean! it's a 'shock' when you see that someone else pays a (knock on effect) employee more than you earn isn't it. It is more than I would earn too if/when I return.
I think we are damned if we do and damned if we don't.

jimswifein1964 Wed 11-May-11 10:51:56

Solo, that's exactly why I didnt go back to work until they were school age - the relative costs are horrendous yes - I couldnt earn enough to cover a minder for 2 kids. But I'm just so shocked at £3k for a nanny; thats twice what dh brings home, and he's a specialist in his field and he's been there 22 years shock

SoloIsAHotCougar Wed 11-May-11 10:39:56

Jimswife, it doesn't matter if your childcare is £40 a week; if you are only taking home £40 or £50 a week after those costs how can you manage?
When I looked into a childminder at normal hours which I don't work (!) it was going to set me back £1600 a month for 2 Dc's, one of those in ft education and that being a lower charging CM too! So at the end of the month, I'd have had just £108 to pay for absolutely everything else! earn too much to get much help, so it wasn't even possible to continue working at that point.

And whilst there certainly are benefit 'scroungers' out there makeminealarge, we aren't all that way inclined, it's just circumstances that mean that we/they need help. I actually liked earning my salary, being independant and buying the odd treat now and again and it wasn't a particularly easy decision to make to go onto benefits, but it seemed the only way I could live...hopefully things will change for the better for those of us that would like to work and support our families, but there seems little point in working for nothing whilst someone else effectively raises your children.

KvetaBarry Wed 11-May-11 10:38:36

DH and I are putting off DC2 until DS is over 3. Can't afford 2 children in nursery or with CM on my salary, and DH's salary is taken up with mortgage etc as it is!

That said, my CM and nursery are worth their weight in gold, so I almost feel I'm not paying them enough - but then can't realistically afford to pay them more.

childcare vouchers are a great idea, but have taken me a while to get my head around.

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