Childcare costs in Scotland rise by a quarter in three years

Childcare costs in Scotland have risen by more than a quarter in the past three years, a nationwide survey has found.

A poll carried out by YouGov asked more than 3,000 Scots what they were spending on childcare, with parents now spending an average of £276 per month or £3,312 a year.

The cost has risen £720 a year since 2016, when the average monthly spend was £216, a 28 per cent increase.

Parents are turning to grandparents to provide free care, findings suggest.

Parents are turning to grandparents to provide free care, findings suggest

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More than half of grandparents (53 per cent) said they look after their grandchildren either regularly or on an occasional basis.

They spend 9.3 hours a week on average with their grandchildren, up from eight hours in 2016.

The proportion providing 20 or more hours of care each week has risen from nine per cent to 15 per cent over the same period.

Researchers found 6 per cent of parents said they ask their children’s great-grandparents to provide regular childcare.

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Just under half (46 per cent) of grandparents said they regularly or occasionally take their grandchildren on holiday.

Around three in 10 (29 per cent) regularly drop off and pick up the youngsters from nursery or school.

The survey carried out by YouGov for Bank of Scotland’s latest How Scotland Lives research, was conducted online and questioned 3,048 adults north of the Border.

Ricky Diggings, director, Bank of Scotland, said: “The cost of childcare can be a major financial burden for parents, particularly during times when their kids are on holiday. 
While most grandparents are more than happy to help out and enjoy spending time with their grandchildren, the financial benefit this also provides to families should not be underestimated.

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“Lower income households that don’t have savings to fall back on could find the summer months a more difficult time if they can’t call on friends or family for support.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are investing an unprecedented £2 billion into increasing early learning and childcare over a five year period where all three and four-year-olds 
and eligible two-year-olds will be entitled to 1,140 funded hours a year – an estimated saving of £4,500 per child per year.

“We also recently announced a £3 million Access to Childcare Fund to deliver accessible and affordable after school and holiday childcare to 
support families on low incomes.

“In addition, all children in primaries one to three are eligible for free school meals and this extends to families in receipt of qualifying benefits throughout their time at school, saving families an average of £400 per child, per year.

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“We have also contributed £6m towards the cost of the national minimum school clothing grant, which gives all eligible families at least £100 per child, per year towards the cost of purchasing a school uniform.”