Childcare costs have soared under this Tory Government

According to a report by the Charity Coram, average childcare costs have increased by 5.9% over the last year and the availability of place has plummeted. It has been estimated that a full-time nursery place for an under-2 would cost the average British worker £15k a year. This is approximately 40% of the average income in our region.

In the Hexham Constituency there is a lack of affordable and available childcare that holds back families, The situation has only got worse with the recent closure (Oct & Dec 2022) of popular and needed nurseries in both Hexham and Prudhoe, with the owners citing increased costs and lack of staff as the reason.

Research by Labour shows that official data collected by the Department of Education demonstrates that the average cost of an hour of childcare for a two-year-old is now 14% higher than in 2018, shortly after the Conservatives first unveiled the 30 free hours policy.

This means that the cost of funding 30 hours of childcare for under twos now costs parents £800 more since the Conservative introduced its system of free childcare hours, in 2017.  The failure of government to support childcare providers is driving up prices for parents as nurseries and childminders seek to recoup losses with higher prices for paid-for childcare hours to stay afloat, though this has meant many have been forced to close altogether.

Labour’s analysis also shows that more than 15,000 (19%) of providers have now ceased trading since free hours were introduced, while more than 5,000 had closed in this year alone leading to less availability and higher costs. Labour’s own research shows that there are now more than 2 children for every childcare place in England.

Labour will make it a priority to reform childcare to make it more available and affordable. 

Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson will say today (Thursday 9 March) that reforming the broken childcare system will be her “first priority in government”, as part of delivering Labour’s mission to break down barriers to opportunity for every child.

In her speech today Bridget, said:

“The childcare model the Conservatives have built fails everyone, denying parents the ability to work the jobs they’d like, to give their children the opportunities they’d like, and is not of the quality that staff want to provide.

“In the Britain the Conservatives will leave behind, tweaking the system we have will not deliver the ambition or scale of reform we are going to need.

“Labour’s missions must be central to breaking down the barriers to opportunity in this country. To breakdown those barriers, our Mission commits to reforming the childcare system: that will be my first priority”

Photo by BBC Creative on Unsplash