Childcare costs survey


Toddler holding adult's fingers

The first childcare survey published since the announcement of the government's Childcare Commission shows parents are turning down chances to work and having to borrow due to the high cost of childcare.

  • Over a third (38%) of parents responding to the survey have considered quitting their job because of childcare costs
  • More than one in 10 (12%) have left a job because of childcare costs
  • One in five (20%) have turned down a job due to childcare costs
  • 37% pay the same or more for their childcare than they do on their rent or mortgage
  • 14% have borrowed from friends, family or on credit cards to pay for childcare fees
  • 17% have been unable to pay for childcare fees on time

Parents are keen for both government and employers to improve support:

  • 77% of respondents don't think the government does enough to support parents with the cost of childcare
  • 47% agree employers should contribute more to the cost of childcare
"Affordable, high-quality childcare is good for child development, enables families to be financially self-sufficient, and ensures businesses have access to the widest possible pool of talent. This survey clearly shows that while parents want affordable childcare they are not prepared for quality to be compromised. The government's new Childcare Commission should pay heed when considering how to ease the burden of childcare costs for parents." Anand Shukla, Daycare Trust chief executive

And parents would accept fewer benefits if the cost of childcare fell:

  • Over half of parents (61%) responding said they would be happy to receive fewer benefits, eg a freeze in child benefit for 10 years, if childcare was made free or more affordable

But a change in the level of childcare staffing to reduce costs, currently under consideration by the Childcare Commission, was not widely welcome:

  • Only 5 % of parents supported a reduction in the number of childcare staff, even if it meant that costs were reduced for parents
  • Half of parents (50%) of parents felt that childminders should be able to look after a maximum of three children under the age of 5 (in-line with current regulations), while 20% believe it should be a maximum of two.

Justine Roberts, Mumsnet CEO and co-founder, says: "Today's figures show just how serious the impact of high childcare costs is. As a nation we spend more on childcare than most others in Western Europe, yet lots of parents are unable to work because childcare costs make it uneconomic." 

The survey was open to all Mumsnet users who use any kind of childcare (paid for or informal) for one or more of their children (excluding school, but including free sessions at pre-school), conducted between 11-18 June 2012, sample size 1038, 97% of the sample were mums. The data is not weighted.

Last updated: over 1 year ago