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Thursday, 30 January, 2003, 03:21 GMT
Childcare costs 'reach record levels'
nursery worker and child
Sending a toddler to nursery can cost 8,730 every year
Parents are paying more than ever for childcare, a survey published on Thursday says.

And the ever-increasing bills mean more children living in poverty and fewer performing well at school, according to childcare charity Daycare Trust.

It says the typical weekly cost of sending a toddler to nursery has risen by more than 8.50 in the past year alone.

And in some parts of the UK that means parents are paying a staggering 8,730 every year for each child.

Affordable childcare for all is crucial to achieving many of the government's policies - from ending child poverty to raising educational attainment

Daycare Trust director Stephen Burke

A childminder costs almost as much.

And even at an after-school club parents pay 34 for just 15 hours.

Daycare Trust is now calling on the government to ease the burden and encourage bosses to help pay the bills.

Director Stephen Burke said: "Affordable childcare for all is crucial to achieving many of the government's policies - from ending child poverty to raising educational attainment."

But British parents face the highest childcare bills in Europe.

Working families on lower incomes benefit from the government's childcare tax credit by an average of 40.61 a week, according to the charity.

But that is less than a third of the cost of a place at a typical nursery.

And although three million children live in families with no working adults, the vast majority receive no help at all.

Fewer than one out of every 100 has access to childcare services funded by their local authority, Daycare Trust says.

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