Parents pay £124 a week for holiday childcare

Holiday childcare costs in Scotland sees parents shell out an average of £124 per week, according to the Family and Childcare Trust's annual survey.

The school summer holidays cost parents almost £750 per child. Picture: contributed
The school summer holidays cost parents almost £750 per child. Picture: contributed

The weekly cost has risen by 1 per cent since last summer, with parents paying almost £750 for six weeks of holiday childcare per child.

The slight rise in cost seen in Scotland compares favourably with the rest of the UK, but the trust warned that more needs to be done to make childcare more affordable.

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The Family and Childcare Trust’s 17th annual holiday childcare survey found Scottish holiday childcare costs were lower than the British average of £133.

The authors of the survey warned that Universal Credit is often paid too late to help low income families manage higher holiday costs.

In Scotland, the survey warned that many parents might struggle to find chidcare.

Scottish local authorities are not required to monitor the availability of childcare in their areas, meaning that seven in ten local authorities do not know if there is enough holiday childcare available this summer for working parents.

Only one in ten reported that there was enough childcare in their area for working parents.Ellen Broomé, chief executive of the Family and Childcare Trust, said: “For too many families, the long summer holiday is a time of stress and expense as they try to patch together a solution despite the gaps in availability and financial support. While parents will be relieved that costs are levelling off, they remain high and many will again struggle to find and pay for childcare.

“The Scottish and UK governments need to work together to make sure that every family in Scotland can find childcare they can afford over the long summer break.”

Nicola Sturgeon has made increasing childcare one of the key policies of her administration.

The Scottish Government has pledged to increase the provision of free early learning and childcare provision to 1,140 hours per year by 2020, for children who are three or four years old.

The increase would also apply to two-year-olds whose parents/carers are on qualifying benefits and are eligible for the 600 hours free entitlement through the Children & Young People’s Act 2014.

The most expensive part of the UK is the east of England, where parents can expect to hand over £169.38 a week for full-time holiday care.

Overall, the report notes, holiday childcare costs are nearly two and a half times as much per week as an after-school club.

“For parents and carers, finding childcare during the holidays can be particularly challenging,” the report says. “The price is normally significantly higher than term time childcare, which can throw off carefully managed budgets.

“There are also substantial gaps in availability, meaning many parents will find it difficult to find childcare that covers their working patterns and suits their children’s needs.

“Where holiday childcare is unavailable or too expensive, parents are left with few options.

“Many cannot call on family and friends to provide all the informal childcare they need, and will not have enough annual leave to cover the long break, and some struggle to stay in work.”