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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 January 2008, 09:37 GMT
Charity says childcare costs soar
Nursery pupils
London and the South East were the most expensive for care
Childcare costs are rising above the rate of inflation, with parents paying more than 8,000 a year, a charity report suggests.

The Daycare Trust says costs nationally rose 5% last year. Inflation is 2.1%.

The average cost of a full-time nursery place for a child under the age of two in England was 159 per week.

The most expensive care was in London and the South East, where typical costs ranged between 161 and 202 a week, and some parents were paying 750.

The cheapest childcare was in the West Midlands, the Daycare Trust said.

It also said that the cost of childcare in out-of-school clubs had risen by six times more than the rate of inflation to an average of 43 a week.

Graph

Its survey showed the basic fees charged by childcare providers, and did not include the help available from the government through tax credits, childcare vouchers and free nursery places when a child is three.

The trust said that Britons paid more for childcare than elsewhere in Europe, and many did not claim tax credits and vouchers, which can lower costs.

Daycare Trust joint chief executive Alison Garnham said: "Claiming tax credits - which can cover up to 80% of childcare costs - and vouchers from your employer can cut the cost of childcare considerably.

"But even so, parents in the UK are still paying a bigger share - around 70% on average - of this spiralling cost than their neighbours in Europe, where the average is nearer 30%."

She called on the government to invest more in childcare.

Average costs in Wales had increased more quickly over the past 12 months than those in England and Scotland, the trust said, rising 8%.

And Scottish fees fell slightly, with a typical nursery place costing 141 a week this year.

AVERAGE WEEKLY CHILDCARE COSTS IN BRITAIN

Region Nursery under 2 Nursery over 2 Childminder under 2 Childminder over 2 Out of school club
England 159 149 144 142 43
Wales 142 141 153 151 36
Scotland 141 128 139 141 38
Inner London 198 174 177 175 27
Outer London 202 186 184 170 47
South East 179 165 162 161 44
South West 162 154 150 151 40
East of England 168 156 145 143 57
West Mids 133 129 117 116 39
East Mids 142 133 119 123 61
Yorks & Humber 135 131 132 130 43
North West 139 131 118 118 41
North East 135 133 134 138 34



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