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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 February 2007, 00:02 GMT
Scots facing higher nursery fees
Children at nursery
Parents in the UK pay about 70% of childcare costs
Nursery fees in Scotland are increasing at almost double the rate of those in England, a survey has found.

The study, by the Daycare Trust and Children in Scotland, also found fees north of the border were rising at more than five times those in Wales.

A typical full-time nursery place for a child under two in Scotland costs 146 a week, a 10% increase on last year.

Typical fees for childminders were 141 for a full time week, representing a 7% rise on last year's figures.

The highest reported costs in Scotland were 250 a week, for both childminders and nursery provision.

Parents cannot afford to bear the burden of increasing childcare costs alone
Alison Garnham
Daycare Trust

This was much lower than the highest reported costs in England, but was still 13,000 a year.

The survey also indicated that finding suitable childcare was even harder for parents with disabled children.

Many children's information services were unsure of additional costs for disabled children as these are established on a case-by-case basis according to need.

Three and four-year-olds are entitled to 12.5 hours of free nursery education a week.

However, parents in the UK pay about 70% of childcare costs, compared with those in the rest of Europe who pay approximately 30%.

'Key issue'

Bronwen Cohen, chief executive of Children in Scotland, said: "In Scotland in 2007 we should not still be in the position where access to services for young children is determined by their parents employment status and income.

"There is a widespread recognition among Scotland's political parties that much more needs to be done to develop better services for young children.

"This is likely to be a key issue in the upcoming Scottish election."

Alison Garnham, joint chief executive of the Daycare Trust, said: "With typical childcare costs rising by 10% to around a third of average earnings, parents cannot afford to bear the burden of increasing childcare costs alone.

"Despite significant government investment in early years and childcare, funding needs to be further improved so that all children have access to high quality, affordable and accessible childcare."

The organisations called for "the reliance on tax credits" to pay for childcare costs to be gradually phased out.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
A nursery leader explains why costs are rising



SEE ALSO
Pre-school education numbers fall
28 Jul 05 |  Scotland
Nursery places for two-year-olds
06 Jul 06 |  Scotland
Parents facing childcare crisis
02 May 05 |  Scotland
Nursery costs 'soar for parents'
27 Jan 05 |  Education
Parents receive childcare boost
02 Dec 04 |  Business
Nursery access problem denied
19 Feb 03 |  Scotland

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