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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 July, 2005, 23:11 GMT 00:11 UK
School holiday care costs go up
Children
Costs of school holiday play schemes are up
The average cost of UK childcare during school summer holidays has risen by 3% from a year ago, a survey has revealed.

The average weekly cost of a place for a child in a summer play scheme has climbed to 76 from 73.71 last summer, according to the Daycare Trust.

Parents complained about a shortage of affordable and accessible childcare in their areas, the charity added.

Childcare was most expensive in the south east of England, and cheapest in Scotland and inner London.

Similar costs

The trust surveyed 204 Children's Information Services to produce a comprehensive picture of childcare costs throughout the UK.

The survey found that average childcare costs were similar across the country.

In the South-East, parents paid the most for childcare at an average of 87.75 a week, while families in Scotland and inner London paid the least, at 69.78 and 58.36 a week respectively.

However, there were big regional differences when it came to the most expensive childcare provision.

The South East again topped that table, with some parents forking out as much as 270 a week.

By comparison, the costliest childcare in the West Midlands was 130.

In addition, the charity said that parents faced problems finding childcare for the entire six week school holiday and they often had to shift their children between different daycare centres.

"It is at times like these that the benefits of working for some families can become marginal with the cost of childcare consuming a large part of a family's income," Susan Crane, chief executive of the Daycare Trust, said.

"Quality childcare during the school holidays helps parents, provides stimulating and enjoyable activities for children and strengthens communities, but many families struggle to be able to find appropriate summer holiday childcare which they can afford," Ms Crane added.

Average childcare costs by region
Area Average cost Highest cost
Inner London 58.36 215
Outer London 79.00 200
South east 87.75 270
South west 75.44 195
East of England 85.50 150
West midlands 69.45 130
East midlands 77.87 138
North west 71.15 180
North east 83.72 150
Scotland 69.78 240
Wales 80.49 250
Source: The Daycare Trust (Average weekly cost)




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