VOTE: Families left counting the cost of childcare

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FAMILIES are being left in a vulnerable position due to the high costs of child day care, a study has shown.

Research carried out by Aviva has shown a working mother could be up to £98 worse off a month after all child care and work costs have been paid, forcing families to make difficult decisions on whether they can live on a single salary.

An in-depth analysis of childcare costs revealed typical full-time childcare costs around £385 per month, per child.

However, the range in childcare costs is vast, with parents who need full-time care for children under two paying an average of £729 per month, while those with older children who need part-time care pay around £78 per month.

Carla Butcher, 23, of Test Road, Sompting, is a single mum. She said, although she would like to work, the cost of childcare is too much for her to afford.

“It’s frustrating because I am able to work, and want to work, but because I have no-one to look after my little girl, I can’t,” said Carla.

“The cost of childcare is too much on top of household bills, I couldn’t afford it.”

Carla said she is now concerned about her employability after so long out of work.

She added: “I’m going to have to wait until my daughter is older and at school before I can work, which is worrying, because the longer you are out of a job, the harder it is to find work.”

Yvonne Barr, manager of Reflections Day Nursery, in Richmond Road, Worthing, said the costs of childcare include far more than what meets the eye.

“Prices usually include meals and supplies, like nappies, and building maintenance and sterilisation,” she said.

“Obviously, nurseries need to pay their staff, but fees also go towards training so they may have the right qualifications in childcare, as well as in areas such as first aid and hygiene.

“Government regulations mean you must have the correct ratios of staff to children, so nurseries generally need a good number of staff.”

Yvonne said money also goes towards helping children with special needs: “We need to make provisions for special needs children, but we do not want to charge the parent any more money.

“I don’t dispute that childcare is expensive.

“But 75 to 85 per cent of the money we take in here goes towards wages, yet people who work in this sector are among the lowest paid in the country.”

Do you think the costs of childcare are too expensive? Cast your vote in the panel to the right of the screen, and leave your comments below.