Page last updated at 00:37 GMT, Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Cost of Scots childcare 'soaring'

Cuddly toys
The Scottish cost increase was the highest in the UK

The cost of nurseries and out-of-school childcare in Scotland has risen by almost four times the rate of inflation, a survey has found.

The study by the Daycare Trust said childcare had increased in cost by 29%, while the price of a nursery place rose by 12%.

These were the highest increases in the UK, the trust said.

Campaigners called on local authorities to focus more resources into meeting the needs of young children.

The eighth annual Childcare Costs Survey was produced by the Daycare Trust with the assistance of Children in Scotland.

It found the cost of a nursery place for a child under the age of two had increased to 158 per week, a rise of 12%, and to 143 per week for older children - also a rise of 12%.

There can be no doubt this will hit Scottish parents in the pocket
Alison Garnham
Daycare Trust

The cost of a childminder has also increased substantially, by 11% for a child under two and 9% for two years and over.

Out-of-school childcare experienced a dramatic increase of 29% and now stands at 49 per week for an average place, well above that in England.

The yearly cost of a typical full-time nursery place for a child under two is now 8,216 in Scotland.

Daycare Trust joint chief executive Alison Garnham said: "The cost of pre-school childcare has increased above inflation across Great Britain, but the sharp increases in Scotland are a serious cause for concern.

"Over the last 12 months the cost of a nursery place in Scotland has risen by almost four times the rate of inflation, whilst the costs of childcare for school age children rose at almost ten times the rate of inflation.

"There can be no doubt this will hit Scottish parents in the pocket."

'Soaring increases'

Chief Executive of Children in Scotland, Dr Bronwen Cohen, said she had written to Chancellor Alistair Darling asking for more funding to be made available to governments and devolved assemblies across the UK to bring early years infrastructure "into the 21st century."

"These soaring increases leave Scottish parents facing the steepest increases in Britain and underline the urgency of implementing Scotland's early years strategy published last December," she said.

"This ten-year vision supporting young children and their families makes a strong case for Scottish local authorities to direct resources into universal services that offer a holistic and integrated approach to meeting care and education needs for Scotland's young children."

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