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Childcare costs survey - the results(77 Posts)
Thanks to all those who completed our recent survey on childcare costs.
As you might have seen we've published the results today following swiftly on from David Cameron announcing a commission into the cost of childcare costs last week.
We'll be forwarding the results on to the childcare commission - so do let us know what you think.
Your link gives me a
"Sorry, that page does not exist on mumsnet.com" message
"Sorry, that page does not exist on mumsnet.com" - is it possible the page is still visible to MNHQ only?
Sorry therockenholt - try again now.
I am a regestered childminder, I really try hard not to charge too much, anything over 160 a week sounds a bit greedy to me, I realise I get asked for long hours at times, and that can push the money up. I would say 160 per week for 50 hours a week, Is that too much do you think? Maybe childminders should not have to pay tax and for inspections and first aid so they could charge less or something.
Don't know why they don't just reduce the age limit from 5 to 4 for determining staff ratios for childminders or nurseries. When my DD was 4 it was a complete pain finding childcare in the school holidays as providers wouldn't take her because of the higher staff ratios needed for under 5s - yet she was a school in a class of 30!
This would help make childcare cheaper, but still preserve the high staff ratios that are needed for toddlers.
MN didn't offer us the option of chaning the age limit in the survey, you just had to say yes or no to lower staff ratios for under 5s, but a 18 month old is a very different creature from a 4 year old.
Cost of Childcare was actually a motivating factor for DH and I to leave the country this spring. We had 3 small kids and no. 4 came along as a surpirse. I couldn't make the sums add up in terms of childcare and paying the rent on a 2 bed flat in a capital city for the next couple of years. I know it was my choice to have 4 kids btw before I get flamed.
So DH earned around £35-£40K for 5 days (in reality about a 55 hour week). I earned £38K on 4 days (with overtime after kids in bed around 35-40 hour week). We were higher rate tax payers and didn't qualify for any tax credits. With 3 at nursery for 4 days we were paying around £1800 a month but were getting the full childcare vouchers from both employers of £110 a week and the 12 free hours on DS1 and 2. If either of us moved employer we would lose the £55 childcare vouchers and go down to £28 a week (I think) due to the April 2011 changes to the vouchers for higher rate tax payers. DS1 hit school and we got some respite but with DS4 arriving I could see we were heading for £2100 a month with 3 at nursery and 1 at school in wrap around care. This meant I was would be working up to a 40 hour week for around £400 a month until DS3 turned 3 and DS2 hit school. I couldnt afford not to work as we couldn't afford to live on DHs salary alone plus I wanted to work.
So we've moved to NZ for a couple of years with DHs work. DH earns around the same and I have taken a 5 days a week role for £10K more thasn I was on in the UK. We get 20 free hours for over 3's and nannies are cheaper so we have a registered nanny for 50 hours for around £9 an hour. I now pay around £1800 for 5 days of cover so £300 less and I take home the extra £10K a year. Otherwise living costs are the same so we intend on staying until all our littlies are up to school age.
I completed that survey. Unfortunately there was not space to mention that I am moving to France in September for 4 months, where DD3, who will be just 3 by then, will attend the nursery of private school at a cost of 20 euros a month. The hours are 9-4 for the 20 euros, but she can go 8-6 for a small extra cost (6 euros a day) if I choose or need her to, they will serve her meals and have a room for sleeping, and cover the full french nursery curriculum from age 3 to 6. That's what we need in Britain.
I believe that the fragmented childcare that most parents have to juggle (unless one is earning enough for a full-time day nursery or excellent nanny) is stressful and disruptive to family life and to the child. Much better if the parents both work full-time, that the child goes to the same place every day, where they can really settle in.
15 hours a week in a playgroup is practically useless to working parents, if they have to rush back at lunchtime several times a week to collect their child, or arrange for a childminder or granny or friend to collect them after their free hours. Many playgroups only run in the mornings here, or a limited number of days a week.
Excellent point about how a 4 year old is very different to an 18mth old (or a baby) purple roses.
Also, obviously more should be done to help childminders as bizzyizzie suggests - such as government take them out of tax, not charge for inspections , offer free courses such as first aid (especially where they are compulsory)
Then as bizzy says many childminders will be able to pass such benefits on to parents. Childminders should get a better deal for the amazing and valuable work they do in any case imho.
Also agree with duchesse many other countries such as the Scandinavian ones, and it seems France, have much better models of how to provide education and care for the under 5's, which also enables parents to work, and supports family life, and builds a strong society both now and in future generations.
Really, it's a no-brainer as they say !
I think the 4yo point purpleroses made is excellent. MNHQ should have added that as an option. I wouldn't want a childminder looking after more than 3 toddlers/babies at a time. But a 4 year old who have started school is so completely different.
I'm self-employed and, since the limits changed, don't get working tax credits anymore. It would make such a difference to be able to write my childcare costs (c £600/pm for three short nursery days) off against tax. This is the single cost I have to pay in order to work and at the moment it's really hard. As I understand it, if I had a chauffeur I would be able to write that cost off, but I can't childcare costs. That's mad and, I think, has to change.
Just to add that by short, I mean 8.30am-4pm (fits in with school hours of DC1).
I am also self-employed and agree with Tantie. My business isn't nearly as successful as it could be as I can't afford to have my son in daycare fulltime.
If I could write off the cost of daycare, even if it's just the amount above what my husband gets taken off his wages for Childcare Vouchers (which is about half the cost of my son's 3 full days a week), I could put him in for more hours.
This is easing up some in September when he gets his 15 free hours, but, to be honest, 3 hours a day doesn't do much for me. We have a childminder lined up for 2 pick ups and keeps for the afternoon, but it would be nice to write off her amount as well!
I think childcare subsidies should go direct to providers, so parents aren't so reliant on tax credits (which are invariably delayed or incorrect) and to reduce the nominal cost of childcare so it "feels" worth working once childcare costs are compared to the lower wage earners income.
There needs to be better provision for school holiday care, or better leave for parents of school aged children, as currently it doesn't add up (4 weeks a/l, 13 weeks school holidays) and holiday clubs are often hard to get to without a car and run hours shorter than school (typically 10.30-3).
Well done Katie MN - Just seen you on ITV lunch-time news.
See, I'm not always on here
Liked how you finished with call to look at "big ideas" in this area - and not just "tinkering around the edges"
If this government are serious about the advancement of women then they need to bring in changes that allow women to continue working. I think the best way to help all women and families is to change the tax laws so childcare is fully deductible. DD is in daycare for 11 hours a day (7am-6pm) and DH is the one who has had to cut back his hours to pick up DD because I am required to work until 9-10pm for much of the year. Yes I am in the US but the hours are not all that different in the UK. If we were in the UK a nanny would be needed but the cost of one is more than my take home salary after tax.
Another reason for allowing childcare to be fully deductible is that it would eliminate double taxation. A mother pays tax on her income and then pays a childminder/nanny who then pays tax on their income. Both the mother and childminder/nanny are paying NI and taxes. It isn't like where corporations pay tax on income after these expenses, although they do pay taxes on payroll (which are not as high as the taxes paid by the employee).
Completely agree with annual leave versus holiday cover - plus no employer I know will entertain a request for a term time contract any more. It amazes me when I hear how well organised other countries seem to be compared to the UK and I do agree that it benefits society as a whole.
DH and I will be managing the reception year holidays by having just a few days off at the same time We have used every possible hour of leave in splitting all the school holidays, TD days and school events to try to be as involved as we can for our oldest in reception year. Holiday clubs just feel a bit too soon for DS1 as he will be just 5 this summer and the hours are limited in our area for our long work days (we work our hours in 4 days to be with our children at more than just the weekends).
I'm incredibly lucky as DH works his hours in 4 days too, which makes it financially worth me bothering to work (in a profession where you have to keep your hand in/knowledge up to be useful). We have 3 days childcare costs. I think I earn what most would consider a good wage but 4 days nursery, plus breakfast club and after school costs for 4 days, plus having to find summer holiday cover... it's better if I don't think about how little of what I earn would be left over.
Both DH and I have compromised our careers (willingly and hopefully temporarily) for our DC and a key reason is the cost, flexibility and quality of childcare. I try to feel smug that I'm paying less in tax as well as the obvious joys of more time with DC
and having a day off each week .
I feel strongly that any childcare improvements should be available to both mums and dads/carers of any type (e.g. Foster carers, grandparents etc). This would help women in getting jobs as men are equally able to request the same - I love the idea of men being able to take more paid Paternity leave, as an example.
When the time is right to pursue a career move, I've no idea if DH or I will need to work more days or travel. It will depend what opportunities come up.
It would help to pay Tax credits directly to the provider. I can't remember the exact figure but a lot of money is claimed from tax credits for childcare that is not actually being used. Paying providers directly would mean that this fraud is not longer possible (by parents that is). All a parent needs to claim the childcare element is my Ofsted number, I've only ever had one actually be checked up on.
This would prevent fraud, saving money in the first place, and the money that is spent on childcare will all be going to the provider enabling them to pass on the benefits to the children (i.e. money well spent).
Agree with providing free training that is compulsery (like child protection and first aid). Our tax allowences (as a childminder) are actually pretty fair, but any breaks we get and any funding helps me keep my costs down.
It's not a nice feeling as a child minder to know that my mindees parents are struggling to pay my fees, yet I cannot afford to charge less. I know some childminders who aren't bothered by this but I want to offer a good quality service that people can actually afford.
A fair hourly rate for the 15hours free entitlement would help massively. If I got a decent amount for children during those hours I would not have to make up the gap by charging more for my hourly rate. £3.73 per hour before expenses is not enough. Can't imagine David Cameron working for that! Why is good enough for the people who take care of our most important little people?
How many responded to your survey?
Orange, I don't understand. Round here, day nurseries charge the parents around £3.60/hour. They seem to be able to make a profit on that whilst respecting staffing ratios.
You're not actually working for £3.80/hour if you have more than one child to look after! More like £7.60 or £11.40 or £15.20 depending the number of children you have. Hardly any jobs around here (Devon) pay more than £10/hour, most are more in the £7-8 region.
As an employer of a nanny (periodically) I think it's inappropriate that things like payroll and other red tape expenses that relate directly to her employment are not tax deductible for me, but they are for a company or other organisation, as they can be set against profits in such instances. It also beggars belief that we have to pay employers' National Insurance, a kind of fine for being an employer, which is more or less equal to the amount we get back in childcare vouchers, so the cost of the nanny is not offset at all. For those of us in areas when nurseries and childminders are all but non existent, nannies are about the only childcare we can access yet this seems to penalise us very harshly.